Decades of frustration rose to the surface and boiled over into our streets in 2020, bringing a sharp focus on the real consequences of racism in the United States. These events made it more apparent than ever that deep-seated discrimination and divisions still exist, Black voices need to be heard, and Black lives matter.
2020 also brought hope that we can make progress toward the goal of a truly inclusive society. Discrimination is contrary to the American values of opportunity and equality and we need to do everything in our power to end it. The call is clearer than ever for all of us to move toward transformational change in every way possible.
Jazz Night School understands that this music we call jazz can help raise the awareness of racial injustice in the United States. Learning about jazz offers an opportunity for Americans of all ethnicities to understand the extreme hardships that Black Americans endured to create their music.
Theolonius Monk said, “Jazz is freedom. You think about that.” Jazz is a music of freedom and a message of hope. Jazz is an immense and celebrated contribution to our culture and the world, a gift from African Americans who dealt with racism, injustice, and inequity throughout their lives. The ever-evolving creative power of this uniquely American art form shines a bright light onto the beauty and genius of Black lives.
Jazz Night School has always provided an enriching and supportive learning experience for students of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Nurturing community through the uplifting force of jazz is our mission and our passion.
As we embrace the music, we must also listen to the life stories and realities of the African Americans who created it. Stories such as Seattle’s iconic jazz bassist Buddy Catlett’s account of the Horace Henderson big band who, while touring the south, was stopped and forced to play roadside for state patrolmen, before being allowed to proceed; or the horrifying incident when 20 year old jazz giant Bud Powell received his debilitating brain injury from a beating by Philadelphia police in 1943.
Jazz Night School is doubling down on our commitment to eliminate racial injustice by increasing inclusion of the history and experiences of Black musicians into all of our offerings. Our goal is to impact everyone within our reach, so they may grow the awareness and empathy needed to move our country toward liberty and justice for all.
We are grateful to all the African Americans who created this music we love, and we are here to affirm that Black Lives Matter.
Please visit our Jazz History Resources page for some of our top recommendations of ways to learn more.