Reimagining Jazz in Africa: Cape Town Cosmopolitans and Beyond
It’s no secret that the distant roots of American jazz lay in Africa. But how did Afro-America’s revolutionary sound reshape African music? On this Hip Deep edition, we examine how African artists found a modern, global voice using jazz as inspiration. Author Carol Muller tells the story of Abdullah Ibrahim, whose prolific career was launched with “Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio” followed by “Anatomy of a South African Village Suite.” We dig into the political significance of the U.S. State Department tours of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and how their visit to Africa underscored the greater fight for social justice for blacks around the world. Senegalese music scholar Timothy Mangin explains West Africa’s attraction to American big band music. Finally, jazz and African music scholar Ingrid Monson tells the story of jazz in Ethiopia and Nigeria, and how this American tradition sculpted the sounds of such luminaries as Mulatu Astatke and Fela Kuti.