Henry Threadgill on the trouble with ‘jazz’ and the limitations (and racial coding) of the term
“People act like everything’s been attained. Nothing’s been attained yet. You come out of [hundreds of] years of pure slavery and then you enter a period of Jim Crow where people still can’t become anything. There’s no such thing as really integrating into America—it’s still a struggle, so people are still finding out who they are, how they exist in this country. So the art they produce—the art is parallel. That’s being put together as the people are being put together.
So it’s an insult as far as I’m concerned—to say ‘oh this is jazz’ like there’s one black group, one concept, or conception of black people. No other group has this other kind of small definition!”