#1 Harlem- Harlem NY is African American cultural and business center (http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Harlem,_New_York_City/) However, over the past years other cultures are integrated in the city such Asian, Europeans, and straight and gay (http://nymag.com/realestate/articles/neighborhoods/harlem.htm)
According to the story children growing up in Harlem eventually lead them to do negative things such as drugs or gangs. Thought it does not say that specifically it is in context. “…And he'd always been a good boy, he hadn't ever turned hard or evil or disrespectful, the way kids can, so quick, so quick, especially in Harlem.”
#2 African-American soldiers and sailors had two formidable obstacles to deal with: discrimination and segregation. Yet, black servicemen in both world wars repeatedly demonstrated their bravery, loyalty, and ability in combat or in support of frontline troops. Oftentimes, they accomplished these tasks without proper training or adequate equipment. Poor communications and a lack of rapport with their white officers were two additional burdens hampering the effectiveness and efficiency of African Americans in the military. Too frequently, there was little or no recognition or gratitude for their accomplishments. One of the worst slights of both wars was the willingness of the white establishment to allow racism to influence the award of the prestigious Medal of Honor. (http://www.redstone.army.mil/history/integrate/CHRON3.html)
Sonny Enlisting- It was ironic that Sonny wanted to enlist in the military because at that time many people didn’t want to go into the military. He was also running away from his drug addiction and rather facing his issues he ran away from them. However, running away from them didn’t solve it hr eventually came back.
#3 Gloomy Sunday- Billie Holiday I chose this song particularly of its depressing tone. The song essentially says there is nothing that can brighten the day. The song is referring to love but her reasons to live can be easily related to Sonny and his outlook on life. He feels numb and he doesn’t want to live.
Billie Holiday - Gloomy Sunday lyrics | LyricsMode.com
#4 Bebop borrows elements from both blues and swing music and blends those styles with its own unique sound. Bebop musicians place emphasis on the role of the rhythm section. Complex melodies and chord progressions, experimenting with the placement of accents of melodies, discordant sounds, use of the flatted fifth note, fast tempos, and unconventional chromaticism are all characteristics of this genre. Irregular phrasing and use of the walking bass are other common elements of this type of jazz. (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bebop-music.htm)
Bebop represents a fast paced life but without the worries of getting hooked. For Sonny’s brother bebop represented something different, and something negative. However, at the end he realized how Sonny felt about himself through the passion of the music. So in the end the music was an outlook for him.