Columbia’s partnership with Jazzmobile and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone to create the Columbia/Harlem Festival Global Jazz is a great example of how a global university can be a unique resource to our own local community. By working together to bring a cultural event of international significance to Harlem, one of the historic centers of jazz, we enhance the scholarship of Columbia’s Center for Jazz Studies, and provide an array of opportunities for the University and our neighbors to come together, learn from each other, and experience the joy of great music from many cultures around the world.
George E. Lewis
Edwin H. Case Professor of American
Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
Welcome to the first Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz.
The great diversity of forms and perspectives highlighted throughout these ten days tells us clearly that perhaps more than ever before, jazz today has become a vital arena for intercultural exchange.
A unique and potent cauldron of hybridities was key to the first fruits of the development of jazz. Early on, musicians, critics, and an emerging global public all realized that jazz's openness uniquely situated this new music to enter into fecund dialogue with local traditions. Now, in the new century, as cross cultural jazz exchanges have emerged in the most far-flung locales jazz itself is becoming transformed in exciting and undreamed-of ways, while retaining its character as a world music celebrated for its ideals of freedom and diversity of expression.
Our Festival of Global Jazz, for which most events are either free or at highly accessible admission prices, is designed to encourage audiences to experience the manifold meanings of jazz in a global context, as a means of understanding the relationship between the new transnational soundscape and emerging models of aesthetics and culture. One message that we hope emerges from these ten days of radically variant perspectives is that improvised music's continuing resistance to the imposition of definite borders and fixed canons may well prove its greatest strength--a power just possibly stronger than itself.
Kenneth J. Knuckles
President & CEO
The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone
The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone is proud to be a partner in this extraordinary
undertaking. The Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz emerged
from conversations among UMEZ, Jazzmobile and Columbia University,
and thanks to the efforts of numerous organizations and individuals,
this exciting Festival has come to realization.
emphatically reaffirms the place of Harlem as a crucial nexus for
the exchange of culture and ideas. At a time of change and energy
for our dynamic community, this international cultural festival
celebrates Harlem’s integral role, not only in the origins of jazz,
but in the global exploration of art, culture and social systems
that marks our future.
On behalf of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and all the partners in this Festival, thank you for being a part of this exploration.