The Jazz scene and Cannabis
For this reason, jazz shows values such as tolerance, unity, peace, mutual understanding, integration and intercultural dialogue.
In this article we are going to talk about an aspect of jazz music, perhaps not very well known. It is about the important relationship that existed between this music and marijuana.
The history of marijuana is closely related to the history of music, as well as many other arts.
They used euphemisms to refer to this substance. Cab Halloway was one of the first with the song titled "Refer man". Most of the public would have no idea what he was talking about. "Reefer", "gauge", "jive" and "weed" were some of the slang words jazz greats used when singing about cannabis. This terms would become some of the popular slang still in use today.
Not only were jazz musicians smoking it, but everybody knew that it gave them a leg up. When you got high on cannabis, the music slowed down a little bit and you can flow improvisationally.
Fats Wallace, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and many referent and great jazz musicians were speaking on the plant because the plant was something that was a way of helping them find their groove, mind and to create some of the most classic music that was ever created .
Jazz music was the new music of the 20th century and Louis Armstrong is its parent. He is the most important seminal figure in the development of jazz and it is known that Louis started smoking weed early on and smoked it every day of his live.
Cannabis began to be persecuted and prohibited because its use was mainly related to two racial groups: Black people and Mexicans. With false scientific reports, propaganda and racism, the government turned public opinion against this substance. Marijuana was made illegal partially because of the jazz scene. It was trying to prevent people from going to jazz clubs because it put black people and white people together, in particular black men and white women.
Then, this movement, culture and way to live and create the music, spreaded to other movements like the beat generation, the hippie movement... Later the relationship between music and marijuana persisted through Reggae music or HipHop. Nowadays, the issue of the weed goes mainstream because there a lot efforts to legalize it and make business but the racial disparity continue until today.
By Fernando Iturria