8th San Francisco Fil-Am Jazz Festival: Celebrating the Fil-Am heritage in jazz music (via Asian Journal)

There’s a saying that goes, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

I couldn’t agree more.

But with jazz music, something magical happens.  It is a genre that is difficult to define, with its heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note; with aspects of many other genres of music.  When it touched parts of the world, it meshed with local cultures, giving rise to many distinctive styles.

In the United States, jazz has grown into different styles from New Orleans in the early 1910s, to the Kansas City jazz in the 1930s, Gypsy jazz, Bebop and Cool jazz in the 1940s, to free jazz to the 1950s.  A lot more styles came out after those eras, and the genre grew into others like Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban jazz.

Through the years, jazz musicians who were put into the spotlight were notably African-Americans, like Louis Armstrong and JJ Johnson.  What the public didn’t know that Filipinos were playing it as well.  Here in Northern California, the annual San Francisco Filipino-American Jazz Festival (SFFAJF) is on its eighth year, and the event lives in its mission of “presenting, preserving, celebrating contributions of Filipino-Americans and all artists to jazz, latin, jazz, blues, R&B, soul and world music.”

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