A new jazz conference seeks to determine what role jazz can play in today’s society and it has selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the keynote speaker.

Jazz Congress will hold its inaugural event on January 11th, 2018  in New York City. While Abdul-Jabbar is best known as a Hall of Fame basketball legend, he’s also become a cultural commentator and has long been a jazz enthusiast; his father was a trombonist.

Abdul-Jabbar will discuss what role jazz can play in the cultural, political, and social framework of today’s society. The goal of the Jazz Congress is to boost the jazz community, which has dwindled over the decades. The conference will be held at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Where words fail, music speaks life for us. It says what we are often unable to say. Despite the negative encounters of the past that many African Americans have faced and still encounter today, most still are able to benefit and gain a high level of respect and recognition for being the inventors of jazz music. Music is essential to the African American culture which dates back beyond our feet stepping onto US soil.

No matter what we have found ourselves facing when it comes down to racism, discrimination in the work place, or the constant rise in senseless deaths through police brutality, African Americans have always found comfort and a sense of peace in music. Music continues to be a solid foundation in our culture by helping to lighten the load of emotion, anger, grief, or passion.

Throughout the 1920s, jazz music evolved into an integral part of American popular culture. Jazz was born down in good ole, New Orleans about 100 years ago, but its roots can be found in the musical traditions of both Africa and Europe. From African music, jazz got its: rhythm and “feel” which is definitely an art that we desire to see highlighted once again.

As quoted from the popular hit single, “I’ve Got My Music” by the late Marvin Gaye, “Music is my heart and soul, more precious than gold, turn on some music, I got my music.”

Excellent work to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for assisting with bringing back one of the foundations to music, jazz.

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