Dr Watkins' program integrates jazz into the study of US history, government, civics and culture, specifically, but also into the humanities more broadly, making J&D a captivating way for students to engage democratic and egalitarian ideals through a range of themes and subject areas. It has been widely popular both across the US and around the world. You may have heard Wes interviewed on ABC radio or mentioned on NPR.

What can jazz help us understand about democracy that other musical examples cannot? How do current politics relate to this metaphor? What traits of a good jazz musician should we also look for in a president?

Featured songs:

  • “City Sunrise” by Ninety Miles, Live at Cubadisco (Concord Music Group, 2012) Stefon Harris (vibraphone solo), Christian Scott (trumpet), David Sánchez (tenor sax), Harold López-Nussa (piano), Yandy Martinez González (bass), Ruy Adrián López-Nussa (drums) and Edgar Martínez Ochoa DeZabalegui (djembe). Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm-5n30qqtY
  • "Blue Train" (J. Coltrane) from the Conrad Herwig album, The Latin Side of John Coltrane (Astor Place, 1996). The trading features Brian Lynch (trumpet) & Conrad Herwig (trombone), backed by Eddie Palmieri (piano), John Benitez (bass), Adam Cruz (drums), Jose Clausell (timbales) and Milton Cardona (congas) with Mike Ponella & Ray Vega on backing trumpets, plus Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax.

Learn more about The Jazz and Democracy Project® here:




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Produced by: Elliott Brennan

Music by Dan Phillipson, licensed through PremiumBeat

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