This is the story of jazz in Birmingham, and of Birmingham in jazz—of how Alabama's "Magic City" helped create some of the nation's most swinging and celestial sounds, and of how that city, in the process, came to create itself.
Reflecting on her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, folk icon Joan Baez was underwhelmed by the resurgence of protest music. “There needs to be more. It’s terribly important, because that’s what keeps the spirit,” she told Rolling Stone. “Carping and shouting, as much as it gets stuff off your chest in front of 100,000, you really need something uplifting . . . The problem right now is we have no anthem.” Baez’s definition of useful music—something uplifting, preferably an anthem—summarizes her own canon of protest music and history with activist movements.