The Land That Bought Jazz

It’s the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. “But if the political and geographical implications of the land deal have been copiously documented, the cultural implications of the Louisiana Purchase have yet to be fully decoded. For although jazz is universally deemed a distinctly American musical idiom, in fact it was the confluence of European, African and Caribbean cultures in parts of the Louisiana Territory – especially New Orleans – that gave rise to the radical new sounds. The intermingling of cultures that produced a new American music would not have happened, however, without an explicitly political act – the American purchase of the Louisiana Territory.”