Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jazz and Race

Any jazz musician knows and has to deal with the issues of Black and White as they relate to the music and its history. Just watch any episode of Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary and you’ll feel the heavy hand of race relations in jazz.

In order to address this matter seriously and appropriately, the Education Department of SFJAZZ presents “JAZZ AND RACE: BLACK, WHITE, AND BEYOND,” a historical national symposium on the topic of race in jazz with some of today’s most distinguished authors, scholars, historians and musicians. The three-day symposium and dialogue panel will be held in San Francisco from Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1, 2001 in conjunction with SFJAZZ Spring Season 2001.

Moderator Dr. Harry Edwards will ask such questions as: Is jazz “color blind?” How important are racial considerations in jazz? And have issues of jazz and race, with special regard to the African-American experience, received adequate consideration?

There will be a dialogue panel on Friday March 30, 2001 at 8:00 p.m. to start off the symposium.

Guest speakers and panelists will include journalist, novelist and social commentator Nat Hentoff, activist and author Angela Y. Davis, the president of Blue Note Records Bruce Lundvall, trumpeter and author Richard M. Sudhalter and saxophonist/composer Steve Coleman.

On Saturday, March 31st the guest speakers will be James L. Collier, author of Jazz: The American Theme Song, and Jon Panish, author of The Color of Jazz: Race and Representation in Postwar American Culture. The final discussion on Sunday, April 1st will present James L. Conyers Jr., author of African-American Jazz and Rap: Social and Philosophical Examinations of Black Expressive Behavior and Scott DeVeaux, author of The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History. Discussions for all days will be moderated by Dr. Harry Edwards.

Tickets can be bought for individual days or for he entire event and prices are as follows: Fri. 3/30: $17 adults, $5 students/seniors; Sat. 3/31 & Sun. 4/1: $5 per day. Tickets are available in person (without service charge) at the SFJAZZ Store, 3 Embarcadero Center, Lobby Level. Tickets and information are also available on SFJAZZ’s web site at

Originally Published