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A Place for Young Jazz Players in Philly

Suzanne Cloud on the talent incubator of a jazz scene of La Rose nightclub in Germantown section of Philadelphia

Bassist Bruce Ketterer and drummer Ben Singer at La Rose in Philadelphia
11-year-old drummer Nazir Zbo

In 1996, PBS interviewer Charlie Rose conducted an enlightening, and at times a racially wincing, interview; with author Albert L. Murray about jazz and the African-American experience. Murray immediately dove into an explanation that encapsulated what he feels drives art. He said, “Any aesthetic statement has to do with the basic attitude toward the experience of a given cultural configuration. In other words, a work of art is the ultimate extension, elaboration, a refinement of a survival technology” of a given culture.

Murray, a critic famous for his denunciations of overly simplistic attitudes about black and white relationships, elaborated on the importance of rituals, saying they take place in order to re-enact the survival technology to help cultural traditions survive. Many times these rituals are strictly supervised as in religion, but Murray emphasized there is also a playful aspect to these rituals, and to play one needs to combine individuality with collaboration, and “out of that playful re-enactment comes art.”

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