17.04.2012 -

Nicole Slack Jones

Native of New Orleans, Louisiana Nicole Slack Jones was born in 1979. Her dad, an anointed Gospel saxophonist who played in church and her mother, a gospel singer, rooted her in church where she got her start as a singer from a very early age. Seen and often compared to across the Atlantic as the spiritual daughter of Aretha Franklinʼs Nicole Slack Jones gives the full measure of her talent.

Who are your favorite jazz greats?

My jazz favorites are
Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday,  Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Dinah Washington
Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and  Herbie Hancock
Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis
Charlie Parker, John Coltran, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter.
Dave Holland and Marcus Miller

Why is it important for young people today to learn about jazz?  

I feel it's important for young people to learn about jazz because of it's strong history. The roots of jazz can open their understanding and knowledge of where many genres of music derived from. In this century, we have great musicians and artists because of jazz legends. The younger generation needs to know how jazz legends contributed to their success. In this way, jazz can continue and give them great inspiration to be creative in their own music. So to understand jazz,
the history of its development and the growth of the various genres of jazz, is to understand a large part of the aural culture of our times.

What is your most memorable jazz 'moment'?

My most memorable jazz moment  was during my Jr. high school. I was selected to perform in a competition. My music teacher gave me a jazz standard to learn for the next day. I did not think i could do it in such a short time. I had practiced over and over and was not sure for the next day. But when the melody of the song came in my mind,  I was very happy because I remembered every word and I won first place.

Do you think that music (and jazz in particular) can promote peace and tolerance?

Yes I believe music can promote peace and tolerance. It's living proof since the beginning of the 20th century.

In the situation of cruelty and cultural dislocation,  music (and jazz in particular) has been creating peace. Slaves had to find ways to cope, and one of the most effective coping mechanisms was music.  However, peace and tolerance was formed joining together African and European cultures.

Why do you think a day like International Jazz Day is important?

I think International jazz Day is important because it allows great musicians and artists from around the world to come together. Many can learn different techniques from jazz greats and a wonderful part of American History- including a taste of international jazz greats as well.

What is one action the public could do to promote Jazz Day or the values of jazz?

I think the public can promote Jazz Day by getting involved and raising their voices.  They can speak about International Jazz Day on the radio, T.V., and in many jazz clubs and festivals.

Do you think jazz brings together people from different cultures? Can you give examples from your personal experience?

Certainly Jazz brings many different cultures together. One of my personal experiences was after my performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I had the pleasure to meet many people from various countries. Some of them could not communicate in English very well. However, they understood the universal language (Music) Some had explained how they would come every year because they wanted to feel the birthplace of Jazz. They wanted to live it for themselves. I strongly believe that the spirit of jazz as well as the energy allows many people of various cultures to feel a sense of freedom and life. 

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