June 29, 2011
By Jack McCray
By definition, jazz is American.
You hear it all the time: Jazz is America’s greatest cultural gift to the world.
Well, it’s American on a lot of levels. It was not only born here. Its guiding principles are the same as those that drive our democratic republic.
A major birthplace of jazz is Charleston.
Recent research, like the scholarly explorations beginning in 2003 of the College of Charleston’s Charleston Jazz Initiative, continues to point to American improvised music’s deep roots along the South Carolina coast.
In the late 19th century, Charleston institutions such as the Avery Institute and Jenkins Orphanage implemented arts programs that produced seminal players.
Around the time of the founding of the country, a body of music known as spirituals, a bedrock of blues and its daughter, jazz, emerged. That music was first noticed, if not born, in the Lowcountry.
Jazz bands function just like our country……