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Peace & Justice Report: Jazzmen!

Written by on Monday, June 3, 2024

This Wednesday, June 5, at 9am, we’ll talk to Larry Tye, author of The Jazzmen – How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie Transformed America.

Then we’ll hear from Sandra Tapfumaneyi, Sarasota County’s Emergency Management Chief, about hurricane preparedness. Check out the new Hurricane Preparedness Guide at scgov.net.

The Jazzmen is the story of three revolutionary American musicians, the maestro jazzmen who orchestrated the chords that throb at the soul of twentieth-century America.

  • Duke Ellington, the grandson of slaves who was christened Edward Kennedy Ellington, was a man whose story is as layered and nuanced as his name suggests and whose music transcended category.
  • Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in a New Orleans slum so tough it was called The Battlefield and, at age seven, got his first musical instrument, a ten-cent tin horn that drew buyers to his rag-peddling wagon and set him on the road to elevating jazz into a pulsating force for spontaneity and freedom.
  • William James Basie, too, grew up in a world unfamiliar to white fans—the son of a coachman and laundress who dreamed of escaping every time the traveling carnival swept into town, and who finally engineered his getaway with help from Fats Waller.

What is far less known about these groundbreakers is that they were bound not just by their music or even the discrimination that they, like nearly all Black performers of their day, routinely encountered. Each defied and ultimately overcame racial boundaries by opening America’s eyes and souls to the magnificence of their music. In the process they wrote the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

Based on more than 250 interviews, this exhaustively researched book brings alive the history of Black America in the early-to-mid 1900s through the singular lens of the country’s most gifted, engaging, and enduring African-American musicians.

Sarasota County links mentioned in the Tapfumaneyi interview:

Hurricane preparedness information from Sarasota County Emergency Managementscgov.net/beprepared

Learn your evacuation levelhttps://sarco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/lookup/index.html?appid=0219841617274028b5bf5867fcf4c57b

Medical Needs programhttps://www.scgov.net/government/emergency-services/emergency-management/medical-needs-program

Emergency Preparedness Guidehttps://www.scgov.net/home/showdocument?id=64887&t=638508681758513517

Alert Sarasota CountyAlertSarasotaCounty.com