This article addresses the historical relationship between jazz music and political commentary. Departing from the analysis of historical recordings and bibliography, this work will examine the circumstances in which jazz musicians assumed attitudes of political and social protest through music. These attitudes resulted in the establishment of a close bond between some jazz musicians and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s; the conceptual framing of the free jazz movement that emerged in the late 1950s and early 60s; the use on non-western musical influences by musicians such as John Coltrane; the rejection of the “entertainer” stereotype in the bebop era in the 1940s; and the ideas behind representing through music the African-American experience in the period of the Harlem Renaissance, in the 1920’s.
Key words: Politics, jazz, protest, freedom, activism.
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