PosterAt the Charles H. Wright Museum on Wednesday June 16Th there was a screening of the five part documentary series the first being titled “Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense” we viewed a one hour clip from this documentary series. This first presentation in the series talks with contemporary jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Donald Harrison Jr., and Terence Blanchard as well as some of the Newer up and coming artist on the jazz scene like Esperanza Spalding, Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, and Matthew Shipp.

The documentary focused on a plethora of the burning questions that jazz lovers and Jazz artists have been asking or discussing for the last 2Pic 10 years and longer. Now you can’t create a documentary about jazz without Wynton Marsalis who can arguably be considered the face of jazz at this present time. “Icons Among Us: Jazz In The Present Tense” dives head first in to the meaning of the word Jazz and asks the question has it been lost in it’s own interpretation or is it just out dated. Herbie Hancock says “The term Jazz in a sense is its own worst enemy, but if we redefine jazz in a responsible and careful way then it won’t be its own worst enemy because how people preserve it will change.” Then there is the perspective of trumpeter Nicholas Payton who looks at it from an image perspective.

Other areas covered are the challenges between paying homage to the past jazz greats and allowing the next generation of jazz artists to explore different cr  eative steps with out recrimination from there older jazz piers. Questions about spirituality and bridging the gap between old school and new school jazz artist was approached and answered to some extent.

Pic 2After the screening you were serenaded by the Sean Dobbins Quintet which gave you a brief timeline of jazz as some of us know it from songs like “A Train” to modern bop giving us true musician ship and a comforting musical ride before the brief Q& A session with the Sean Dobbins Quintet and writer/ editor Kristian R. Hall who is from Detroit and is doing a documentary about Detroit Music called “Detroit Sound Project” & Producer John Comerford from Paradigm Studio. During the Question and Answer section of this screening many questions were asked concerning funding, progressing the music, keeping the music in the air. Mr. Comerford commented about these younger jazz artist saying “This Whole thing is a quiet revolution its all percolating under the surface all this incredible potency and creativity and they want to be and this is so critical it is even more critical to say this in this place here in Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is that they are desperate to find there own voices in this time and to express them selves through freedom . . . that is what they are interested in and they will go to the ends of the earth inclu  ding you know living the lives that jazz musicians must live in order to experience that on the regular basis. The Blessing of our journey as filmmakers has been to travel all over the US and to Europe and encounter artist after artist who is doing the same thing they may have different perspectives on what there doing but ultimately they are reaching for that over and over Freedom.” Thought the night and the documentary the phrase “Quite revolution” was used to describe how young musicians are redefining jazz. Creativity is the key to forging new paths in music and jazz is no different. This screening was enough to wet your taste buds with anticipate for what the rest of the series will contain the documentary is available on Netflix for viewing.


Norvell Molex Jr.

Norvell Molex Jr.
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