The History of Jazz

The following piece by Temi Ogunyomade ’24 was created for one of Blair’s inaugural J-term courses, Exploring the Black Experience through the Arts. The course, designed and co-taught by math teacher Mr. Padden and art teacher Mr. Thomas, posed the question, asked originally by American singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone, “How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” 

Students explored a sampler of innovative and exemplary music, poetry, film, and visual art by Black creatives. The course focused on the “danger of a single story” (check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful TedTalk of the same name, especially if you haven’t seen it before) and amplified work that arose as a response to racial oppression and violence in the United States as well as how Black art was and is, as Mr. Thomas put it, a “vehicle for universal human experiences” and “an expression of Black love, joy, and power.” For their final project, students analyzed an artist, art movement, or work of art inspired by what they learned over the course of the class via the format of their choosing. 

Temi created her own album artwork to convey the history of jazz, and the Oracle team is so excited to share it with you here!

Jazz Age: You start to see the rise of Duke Ellington, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, etc. The Great Gatsby is published, and the dance, the Charleston, gained popularity.

(Copyright Temi Ogunyomade 2021)

Temitope Ogunyomade

Temi is a freshman at Blair Academy.