Music, race, commercialism, and work process.
To look into soul-jazz is also to explore the grey area where rhythm & blues, gospel, soul, and funk become defining characteristics of the music. Jesse’s project, “First Gravy” (video), seeks to inform jazz discourse beyond the contributions of the prominent jazz critics who have comprised dominant discourse to hear from those who find value soul-jazz. The project will examine soul-jazz as a form of predominantly African-American expression and in what ways its development was logical and what impact it has had throughout its history, and what its lasting contributions are perceived to be today. Organists Dr. Lonnie Smith, Reuben Wilson, Gene Ludwig, Tony Monaco, Jackie Ivory, Bob Birch, Nick Rossi, Steven Roberts, Linda Dachtyl, Atsuko Hashimoto, and Wil Blades have all contributed their time to Jesse’s thesis, as have record producer Joe Fields, producer and promoter Pete Fallico, guitarist Calvin Keys, academics David Ake, Steven F. Pond, Rickey Vincent, and Hammond technician Bob Schleicher.