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Jazz Music: Negotiation Through Dialogue Essay

901 words - 4 pages

In the very famous essay by Wynton Marsalis and Cornell West, "Jazz, Hope, and Democracy", dialogue through negotiation is used repeatedly. On page 746, Wynton Marsalis says, "Jazz music was invented to let us know how to listen to each other, how to negotiate." Marsalis and West's dialogue through negotiation is used to show each of their beliefs on the idea that rudiments of jazz in play a recurrent role in our society.One example of dialogue between West and Marsalis is located on page 731. West quotes the great Duke Ellington in stating that "Jazz is freedom". West goes on to say, "because I've always argued that jazz musicians are the freest black people in America. And what I mean by that is that they are free enough in their hearts and minds and souls to be themselves" (731). Marsalis answers "And when we talk about "˜freedom', you have on the one hand the freedom to be yourself. But now once you get down there, you have to feel that you've found something that's worth somebody else hearing" (731). The two agree through dialogue that jazz brings about a certain freedom in a person to express whatever they are feeling in their souls without inhibitions. They collaborate on the conflict issue that comes along with jazz music to feel that the listener (audience) is understanding the point the musical piece is trying to express and that the musician gets a sense of the listener relating to them. Jazz relates directly to these ideas of communication. Through any form of communication, one wants the listener (audience) to understand and comprehend what is being stated and apply that idea to their lives. As does jazz music.A second example of "negotiation" between Marsalis and West takes place on page 735. Cornell West raises a question about jazz culture as a tradition and how that culture can be spread. He goes on to explain how we live in a "thin-lipped and thin-blooded culture, such a hollow civilization"(735)... "there's a sense in which you're talking about jazz signifying this mature wrestling with what it means to be human, and most Americans of any color are not interested in that. They muddle through rather than confront the challenge". The two don't agree on the point that people in society don't know what they want in many of life's circumstances. Marsalis goes on to explain how jazz musicians in the 20th century made their mistakes, separating art from the opinion of the populace so that they wouldn't get hurt. Marsalis then goes on to explain that there has been a decline in all American music culture. With jazz music currently there are many changes that have been done so that there won't be...

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