National Jazz Museum in Harlem Conversations on Civic Jazz with Gregory Clark, Loren Schoenberg, and Guests on June 16 - June 27


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Civic Jazz author Gregory Clark and National Jazz Museum in Harlem Artistic Director Loren Schoenberg engage in lively conversation for five exciting sessions in June at 7:00pm. The discussions will set the context for an afternoon of 'live' music that demonstrates the swinging sort of democracy that makes jazz happen. Join us at the museum located at 104 E. 126th Street, Harlem.

Tuesday, June 16: Civic Jazz and cultural work of the music

NJMH Artistic Director Loren Schoenberg and NJMH Fellow Gregory Clark discuss Clark's new book, Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along (University of Chicago Press) that explores the ways jazz can practice democratic life as we know it ought to be.

The book follows the ideas of Kenneth Burke about the rhetorical power of art (whose concept of the rhetorical power of art Ralph Ellison followed as he wrote Invisible Man) through a series of moments in the music when jazz does some of the work of democracy in America. Clark and Schoenberg discuss these moments and share some of them as captured in recordings.

Loren Schoenberg is Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Greg Clark is University Professor of English at Brigham Young University and author of Civic Jazz: American Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along.

Thursday, June 18: Jazz improvisation and civic interaction

Loren Schoenberg moderates a discussion with Greg Clark, Douglas Mitchell, and Nicholas Gebhardt about ways the improvisation that is at the center of jazz models practices of getting along that enrich both private and public life. The discussion will be built upon Clark's Civic Jazz, Gebhardt's Going for Jazz, and other books on the topic published by University of Chicago Press.

Doug Mitchell is Executive Editor at University of Chicago Press and a jazz drummer. Nick Gebhardt teaches at Birmingham City University in Birmingham UK, and is author of Going for Jazz: Musical Practices and American Ideology (University of Chicago Press).

Tuesday, June 23: Political Jazz

Keith Gilyard and Greg Clark discuss moments in the history of jazz when musicians have used their art to address social problems and civic crises in the United States and beyond. These moments include two highly rhetorical musical stage shows: The Real Ambassadors, composed by Dave and Iola Brubeck and Louis Armstrong to critique the US State Department's use of jazz as a propaganda tool in the Cold War, and Duke Ellington's My People, composed to mark the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, as well other jazz works that do political critique.

Keith Gilyard is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and African American Studies at Penn State University. His most recent book is True to the Language Game: African American Discourse, Cultural Politics, and Pedagogy (Routledge).

Thursday, June 25: Sacred Jazz

Todd Williams and Greg Clark share a conversation about jazz music that does the work of expressing and sustaining faith and faith communities, a project descended from the African American tradition of spirituals and gospel music. This conversation will include listening excerpts from compositions such as Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts, John Coltrane's late music, and Mary Lou Williams's liturgical music.

Todd Williams is an acclaimed saxophonist and jazz educator. Former music director at Times Square Church, he now teaches music education at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Saturday, June 27: Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and Albert Murray on teaching civic jazz for kids

Cultural journalist Greg Thomas and Paul Devlin, a literary scholar with a lively interest in jazz, join Greg Clark and Loren Schoenberg in a conversation about three major American authors who used jazz in its full cultural context to provide the sort of civic education American children would need to face their inherited racial divide head on. Hughes's children's books, First Book of Jazz, The First Book of Negroes, and The Book of Rhythms as well as writings from Murray and Ellison address directly the problem of teaching all American children better ways to get along.

This story appears courtesy of Scott Thompson Public Relations.
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