Jazz music is one of Africa’s greatest gifts to America and the whole world. Although the genre is considered a uniquely American creation that blended African and European instruments and musical traditions, the fact remains that jazz is a product of America’s black culture, specifically those in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Since its beginnings in the early 20th century, jazz music has gone from being condemned as “the devil’s music” and a low-culture style without artistic merit to a global form that has been adapted by musicians of many races, nationalities and languages. Jazz festivals are held in dozens of countries around the world, drawing top talent, huge crowds and millions of dollars in revenue.
So wide has its influence spread that in 2002, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, declared April to be Jazz Appreciation Month. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) followed suit in 2011, setting aside today, April 30, as International Jazz Appreciation Day.
To commemorate International Jazz Day, Face2Face Africa spotlights these 5 legendary African jazz musicians who rocked the world in the last decade.
Scroll through to check them out: