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The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
March 20, 2019

Judy Adams’s Jazz Notes: Jazz Goes Global





As we have mentioned in our blog many times over the years, Jazz and the Blues are two of the most influential music genres the world has ever known. They influenced the creation of most modern musical forms including R&B, Rock, Country, Funk, Hip Hop and more.


Blending cultural elements from various cultures from Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and many more. These genres are also mostly made in America. With modern technology and the media, these styles ‘went viral” with the advent of radio and records nearly a century ago.  Jazz and Blues sonorities and rhythmic elements have reverberated all over the world since the beginning of the 20th century if not sooner.



European classical composers such as Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy, Satie, were all drawn to Jazz and its influence is evident in their music. They were huge fans of Jazz, especially after be exposed to it on their visits to America.



More than ever, America needs to recognize and embrace Jazz as a major component of its cultural identity. Much like European countries have embraced Classical music as one of their major contributions to world culture. While Jazz has a huge following here at home, there’s still room for more Americans to accept Jazz as part of our musical heritage.



Today, Jazz has established itself as a major musical art form in Europe, Central and South America, and Asia. Countries with a fervent Jazz scene include France, Spain, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Japan, Italy, and of course the U.S.



There are more than three thousand Jazz clubs worldwide in more than 100 countries and 38 American states. International Jazz Day is a yearly event on April 30, organized by UNESCO to celebrate “the virtues of Jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people”.



Many musicians have said that there seems to be more support, acceptance and appreciation for Jazz outside the U.S. than here at home. Major Jazz recording artists have consistently found more gigs in other countries than in America when on tour.These attitudes led to many artists becoming expatriates and moving to countries where there was more support for the music.



This includes well known artists such as civil rights activist, actress, singer, Josephine Baker, who became a huge star in France in the 1920’s and beyond. Also, saxophonist Dexter Gordon, who left the United States in the 1960s to live in, primarily, Paris and Copenhagen. There, he played with fellow expatriates and continued to record for Blue Note. He experienced better treatment in Europe, as a Jazz player, than he had in the United States.



The great Jazz singer/songwriter, pianist and activist,  Nina Simone, lived in Liberia, Switzerland, England, Barbados and elsewhere before eventually settling down in the South of France.




This is still happening today as American artists continue to find more financial support for their music in other countries who quite often pay artists a stipend to support their efforts to maintain a higher quality of life in their communities.



We must remember that America is still a young country. It needs to celebrate its highly influential cultural identity with Jazz – a true American art form, which is more highly revered elsewhere than it is here at home. American Jazz has had a major influence on most of the music around the world in the past 100 years. It’s time we acknowledged how much we have contributed to world culture. We have so much to be proud of.






Dexter Gordon spent years living and performing in Paris, France. In 1986, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the French film, Round Midnight and was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. “Our Man in Paris” is a album he recorded in 1963. The album’s title refers to where the recording was made, Gordon (who had moved to Copenhagen a year earlier) teaming up with fellow expatriates Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke, both Parisian residents, and native Parisian Pierre Michelot.




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.






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