An Incredible Tale Decades in the Making–Streaming on vimeo july 21st!
In the 1920s and 1930s, African American musicians and entertainers in Shanghai laid down the soundtrack for the so called ‘Paris of the East.’ Chinese musicians also took up the art form and mixed it with their own folk music. This hybridity impacted the trajectory of that country’s popular music to the present-day, inspiring a new generation of artists from China and abroad post 1990s to converge on that country to continue the creative and improvisational jazz ethos of an era that laid the way for the present to intersect and continue a creative merging of improvisation fueled futures.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Dr. Presswood attended Morehouse College where he received his B.A. in History with a focus on East Asian Studies. In 1997, while a student at the prestigious HBCU he studied abroad for six months in China. Later, he would move back to East Asia living in Japan for two years and China for ten years. In 2005, He founded and managed the first African American-owned study abroad organization focused exclusively on increasing the number of African American students studying overseas. In five years, His organization successfully matriculated three dozen Black students on his China program.
In 2010, He earned a master’s degree in International Public Service Management from DePaul University where his training focused on administrative and global cultural competencies in the public and private sectors. Dr. Presswood conducted extensive qualitative research in India and China for his master’s thesis– a comparative analysis of small and large-scale environmental watershed project management in China and India—interviewing a host of officials in Beijing, China and Pune, India.
Dr. Presswood completed his doctorate program at the University of California–Irvine in Modern Chinese History in June 2020 with a dissertation interrogating the historical record of socio-cultural interactions between Africa and the African Diaspora and China in both the Republican era (1912-1949) and Mao era (1949-1976). He examines the impact of pivot figures on Chinese cultural and political landscape such as Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, and Robert and Mabel Williams. His expertise also includes Afro-Asian History, 20th century U.S. History, 20th century African American History, Jazz History, Race and Racism, and Black Internationalism. Marketus has contributed to mainstream periodicals like The Atlantic– https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/07/on-being-black-in-china/277878/
Yellow Jazz/Black Music is the first full-length feature documentary for the jazz aficionado.
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Even low-budget films cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not, hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the 100s of hours of human labor to produce. Each purchase helps us continue to tell untold and uncensored stories about our shared pasts and futures. Thanks for your support!
Learn More About Jazz In ASIA
Here are some of the must read books on Jazz in Asia. Although Shanghai was the epicenter of the music out East in the 1930s, countries like Japan and India developed important scenes as well.
Purchase Exclusive Art Inspired by the Film
We are excited to offer two limited edition pieces to commemorate the film, commissioned to renowned African American painter Ted Ellis, MA and Dr. Faisal Abdu’ Allah, a specialist of serigraphy, intaglio, and relief printing.
the director’s Blog
While editing this film, some storylines were unfortunately left on the digital cutting room floor. This was the case with Earl Whaley and his group of musicians. Bandleader and saxophonist Earl Whaley brought members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM)...
I had been thinking about making this film for years and the opportunity finally presented itself. Many people have asked me why I titled the film, ‘Yellow Jazz Black Music’, isn’t yellow a negative moniker for Asian people, and isn't Black laden with a host of...
On my second stint in China in the early 2000s I remember walking into the now defunct CD Jazz Café, that was located on west third ring road in Beijing near the diplomatic district in Chaoyang, watching and listening to a Chinese musician on the bandstand playing a...
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