The undeniable link between Islam and jazz music led one critic to proclaim that the faith was the “unofficial religion of bebop.” Alongside early converts such as William Evans (Yusef Lateef), Frederick Russell Jones (Ahmad Jamal), Leo Morris (Idris Muhammad), and Art Blakey (Abdullah Ibn Buhaina), many jazz musicians discovered a spiritual foundation that inspired strength and dignity through Islam. From Eastern modes to Western melodies, the impact of Islam on the soul of American jazz ranks second only to that of Southern black churches. In the big band format, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will present a program of jazz created, performed, and inspired by practitioners of Islam.
Join us for a pre-concert talk by Hussein Rashid, PhD, lecturer at The New School, and founder of islamicate, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. This concert is part of the Sounds of Faith series, examining the religious roots of American musical traditions.
Sounds of Faith programming is made possible by the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc.