Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology

If one idea crosses partisan lines in America, it is respect for jazz as a great indigenous
art form. Jazz musicians played a key role as cultural ambassadors during the Cold
War, under Democratic and Republican presidents. Richard Nixon, a pianist, had
Duke Ellington perform at the White House in 1969. Saxophonist Bill Clinton
joined Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Rose and others in 2003 for a high-minded
discussion about jazz and its relevance to American democracy. [1] ‘The story of
jazz mirrors the story of our nation,’ declared George W. Bush during an official
White House celebration of jazz this past June. Barack Obama told Rolling Stone
magazine that he keeps music by Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane on
his iPod.

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