"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jim Crow Blues

My high school Humanities teacher, Nicholas Cords, introduced me to "Lead Belly", Huddie Ledbetter, when I was 16 years old. He was the first person I knew who put a value on true folk music and race music equal to European classical music, which made the music teachers cringe. He was right; they were wrong. He opened a door for me. Nick is old now, but still alive and kicking. The first line of his son's bio on the Yo-Yo Ma website states, "Violist Nicholas Cords is strongly committed to the advocacy and performance of music from a very broad historical and geographical spectrum."  I wonder where he got that from?
- Thanks Nick for what you gave to me too.

I just received an email from Cheri Register, a friend who comments offline:
"Just catching up with your blog after a busy couple of weeks embroiled in politics at the Minnesota Historical Society.  Nick Cords isn't THAT old.  He's still in his 70s, I think.  He was pretty young yet when he was our teacher.  I did a paper on the history of jazz in humanities class, and Nick steered me to sources I never would have found otherwise.  When I watched Ken Burns's documentary on jazz on PBS, I was astonished to discover that I knew all that stuff already, thanks to Nick."

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