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Simone Nuff SaidThe Civil Rights Era was a time of major social and political change in America. In the 1950s and 60s, acts of protest and civil disobedience highlighted the injustice faced by African Americans and the entire world began to pay attention.  Eloquent speeches, protest marches, tragic events, and dramatic conflicts between activists and government authorities marked an era where “freedom” took on a variety of meanings. This turbulent time was reflected in jazz and inspired some of the most passionate and emotional performances and compositions in the history of the music.

Musicians like Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, John Coltrane, and others responded to the struggle for civil rights through their music, writing protest songs and inspirational anthems for the era. As the 1960s progressed, some jazz artists continued to create music inspired by the increasingly violent struggle for political freedom; other performers explored radically new forms of expression in search of a purely artistic freedom. We Insist coverWe Insist! (subtitled Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite) is a jazz album released on Candid Records in 1960. It contains a suite which composer and drummer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959, with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.[1] The cover references the sit-in movement of the Civil Rights Movement. The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded the album one of its rare crown accolades, in addition to featuring it as part of its Core Collection. The music consists of five selections concerning the Emancipation Proclamation and the growing African independence movements of the 1950s. Only Roach and vocalist Abbey Lincoln perform on all five tracks, and one track features a guest appearance by saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.

Last modified on Friday, 21 August 2015 09:14

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