Recitative: The Persuasive Tenor of Jazz Culture in Langston Hughes, Billy Strayhorn, and John Coltrane

Andrew Vogel

Abstract


Jazz is more than music. Jazz is a culture defined by a progressive ethos encoded in sound. By putting the poetry and music of Langston Hughes, Billy Strayhorn, and John Coltrane into conversation, this essay demonstrates the versatility and vitality of jazz culture. However, jazz culture has come to be drowned out in America today, and so I argue for a return to the voices of jazz's past so that we can give a new ear to jazz artists working today. Such listening should be seen as a means to reinvigorate progressive values today and in the future.

Keywords


Jazz; Poetry; Composition; American Modernism; Progressivism; Langston Hughes, Billy Strayhorn; John Coltrane; Gertrude Buck