Statement of support of African-American Community

University of Louisville Jazz Studies Program Statement on our support of the African-American Community and People of Color:


The Jazz Faculty of the University of Louisville music department would like to publicly acknowledge the role of the African-American community in the creation of Jazz music, to which we have dedicated our lives studying, performing, and teaching. The roots of jazz reach back to the slave trade with African-American Work Songs, Field Hollers, Call and Response, Spirituals, Blues, Shouts, Chants, Narrative Ballads, and Ragtime. Quite simply, the bulk of our modern music including Rock, Pop, R&B, has directly evolved from Jazz and would have no resemblance to these styles as we know them without the contribution of the African-American community.


The defining characteristic of jazz is freedom of expression through collective improvisation and the constant movement to push the boundaries of the status quo. The qualities of rebellion, fight against oppression, and equity through democracy are built into the music itself and have often been an explicit part of the jazz narrative. In a sense, jazz with its simultaneously healing and revolutionary edge, is the ideal soundtrack to the protests and increasing civil rights awareness currently taking place in our country.


While Jazz is one of few areas in our society where the role of African-American culture is at least acknowledged in the main stream, we are aware of the intangible role of this community in all aspects of music with innumerable under-represented composers, producers, and performers of color, as well as the society at large with the infinite contributions to visual art, literature, dance, science, technology, medicine, cuisine, sport, and on and on. In short, we would like to acknowledge and shine light upon a facet of our society that has been systematically and intentionally ignored for too long. We are committed to continuing to fight for equity for people of color and all groups who are oppressed.


Black Lives Matter!