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NPR Music

Patriotism And Protest: Jazz For July 4

Louis Armstrong spoke out against the federal government regarding racial issues, but happily played the National Anthem at Newport in 1960.
Louis Armstrong spoke out against the federal government regarding racial issues, but happily played the National Anthem at Newport in 1960.

Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.

There are, of course, exceptions, as well as some exceptions that prove the rule. For July 4, here are a few jazz takes on the songs you'll hear today.

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