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Jazz is what?

Ron Scott | 4/3/2012, 1:01 p.m.

Quincy Jones produced a few CDs with rappers and jazz musicians such as "Q's Jook Joint," featuring Tone Loc, Nancy Wilson, Queen Latifah, and "Back on the Block" (Qwest Records), with Miles Davis, Ice-T and Ella Fitzgerald.

Jazz is Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse performing duets with Tony Bennett. Jazz is Take 6, Erykah Badu, Sade and Jill Scott. Jazz is America's original music, but during the Grammy Awards, jazz winners are seldom seen on prime time or get an opportunity to perform. Maybe just forget about the Grammys and make sure these great musicians are offered free health care.

Major films are rarely accompanied by a jazz soundtrack. Walk in any store, what do you hear? R&B or top 40. What happened to just a little jazz? In Japan, it's the opposite. Practically every store and restaurant plays jazz music.

Jazz is an American art form. It's mom's sweet potato pie, collard greens and corn bread, a baby's smile and all that's nice and not so nice. It's the music of the soul that comes from the hearts of jazz warriors and swinging bandstand musicians.

Young jazz pianist-composer Robert Glasper just released his fourth CD. Entitled "Black Radio," it features Bilal, Mos Def, Badu, Musiq Soulchild and Lupe Fiasco. It is a jazz album but is intentionally infused with funk, soul and hip-hop in a jazz base. It is a nice mix of good music; this is not his regular band but his experimental band, which is just as tight as his jazz group with more heat.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on jazz stated, "This is triumphant music." Jazz isn't just music, it is a state of mind for each individual, and it encompasses a rich cultural history of Black America. Don't say what jazz isn't, say what it is. You may have to listen to find out you really like this music called jazz.