The Extended Arts

"My Name Is Jazz"
Composed by Carl Le Blanc

In 1719 I was brought to America, to New Orleans. No cries could I make of joy. No rest till Sunday, 1724 when I wed Anna, Lil Easy Anna. Come 1763, the French words we so painfully spoke were replaced with another tongue, Spanish. We had friends of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, saw parades and heard French Opera by 1790. The rhythms of Santo Domingo, so familiar, touched me. A memory of home. Once again our blood ran bound to Orleans and I bowed the strings till this America swallowed us in 1803. A music that I never heard, the Orchestra, was there while in the streets the sounds of brass soldiers opened my ears, heart and mind. What is this? Why is this? And what could I make it be? For the balls of 1807 I sang. For my one quarter daughter's chance to join and become them.
But in 1817 I was conceived within the four corners of the Congo. From the 1823 Market the produce nourished my body and my son, Gottschalk, who would feed them from their own recipes, was born. Parades filled the streets till 1838 when our first Tuesday became fat. The Marigny's Renaissance Theatre was mine in this 4th largest U.S. city. In the city's 80 ballrooms we minstreled til our 11 million chains did fall. Even though our code was faded to white, I sold many crafts and music. The city bowed two strings one white and the other for the 331,726 Noir. Emancipation was spelled out. On paper at least.
Just in time for the rags, in 1868 Joplin was born alongside the blues. Bolden put the hot sauce on the blues and New Orleans had to legislate a spot where you could come get jass, Storyville. Marching bandmen, church voices and those blues all fit together there real nicely, as if they were meant to be together.
And in 1915, after birth, nurturing and twenty years of early life in smoke filled bars, brothels, and gambling houses, they put me out. No wonder I've been traveling the world ever since calling every place and space my home.
My name is Jazz.