Views & Brews: Jazz during the Cold War, May 16
Event: Rabbi, Historian and Jazz Musician Neil Blumofe and KUT 90.5′s in-house jazz buff Jay Trachtenberg will discuss “Jazz During the Cold War” and how this great American art form was used as a diplomatic tool during this unique global conflict. Blumofe and Trachtenberg also will field questions from the audience.
This event is free and open to the public.
When: 6 p.m., May 16
Where: The Cactus Cafe in the Texas Union on The University of Texas at Austin campus.
Background: While living through part of the Cold War, Neil Blumofe listened to some jazz, mostly on cassette. Charles Mingus inspired him to go to cantorial school to learn about sacred music and Duke Ellington sealed the deal. Later, Yusef Lateef raised him up into rabbinical school and all the while, Blumofe kept a picture of the Superdome as his screen saver. He performs original jazz, sometimes live, with people, in clubs. Improvising is the stuff of life — and to perform jazz as an ambassador of the State Department during the Cold War converges many things into an uncomfortable cluster, raising questions about purpose, narrative, nationalism, and autonomy. What does it mean to create art and fire up a soul for the expectations of a nation?
Jay Trachtenberg has been a program host at KUT 90.5 since 1985. For 17 of those years he was the host of Jazz, Etc., first on Friday overnights and then on Wednesday nights. He is currently KUT’s afternoon music host, from noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. He has written about jazz for 35 years—most noticeably for the Austin Chronicle since 1982.
Set in the Cactus Cafe, Views & Brews is a casual discussion series around an interesting topic.