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J.D. Allen and What He Means to the Contemporary Jazz Scene

Music By
American Jazz musician JD Allen plays tenor saxophone as he leads his trio during a late set at the Village Vanguard, New York, New York, February 2, 2010. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images) Without Jazz and Blues, There's No Americana http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/05/jd-allen-americana-jazz-blues/482751/
(Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

“Blues history celebrates mythical turning points. Robert Johnson going to the crossroads to sell his soul. Lead Belly being discovered in—and sprung from—prison by John and Alan Lomax. The 1913 arrest that set 12-year-old Louis Armstrong on his musical career.

J.D. Allen’s moment was less dramatic: It came in a classroom in Seattle, where he asked a student to play a blues pattern.”

In an essay published in The Atlantic, David A. Graham explores the history of black music—particularly, jazz and the blues—through the frame of Saxophonist J.D. Allen’s new jazz album, Americana. Read the essay here. Watch a live performance by the J.D. Allen Trio in Barcelona below.