The Jazz Appreciation Month Address

Four bars and seven beats ago, some hep cats brought forth on this stage a new music, conceived in Jazz and dedicated to the proposition that all songs must swing.

Now we are engaged in a great downloading war, testing whether that music, or any music so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We have come to dedicate a portion of that stage as a swinging place for those here who gave their lives so that a music might live. It is altogether fitting and hip that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot improvise, we cannot hallow this stage. The brave men and woman, living and dead, who bebopped here have improvised it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The media will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished charts which they who bebopped here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this music under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that Jazz of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Copyright 2003 Equinox Music Festival Inc.

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