Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology

| July 19, 2010

Jazzocracy is a book by jazz bassist, political consultant, and author Kabir Sehgal. Sehgal sees similarities between U.S. democracy and jazz, and contends that jazz could serve as new mythologies to support democracy in the United States. Below is an excerpt of book review from Library Journal:

“While touring with Wynton Marsalis and assisting John Kerry s presidential bid, Sehgal noticed similarities between American democracy and jazz. In both, he sees a balance between the individual and the group, independence and cooperation; both allow room for improvisation while maintaining a structural base. Sehgal maintains that the structure of our country is solid but argues we need new mythologies to support it. Mythologies (like the American dream) have served to define the values that we pass along to help create a sense of who we are as a people. Sehgal sees current popular art, specifically rap music, as laden with “vapid materialism” and “self stereotyping,” and therefore unworthy of the task. He advocates for a mainstream expression that will help steer public opinion toward positiveness, writing that we need modern American classics that strengthen and unite us. He considers jazz the perfect vehicle.”