Jazz is one of the most complex music genres as it is closely tied to a number of aspects of the human society. Jazz is associated with masculinity and phallic symbols while it is also related to the notion of castration and certain kind of inferiority as suggested by some researchers. The film Mo’ Better Blues (1990) addresses these controversies while telling a story of a trumpet player.
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The manifestation or rather attempts to prove one’s masculinity is the central theme in the movie. The article in question includes a brief analysis of the masculinity in the film. It is stressed that the protagonist, Bleek, is trying to protect his dominating role but fails to do so and loses his masculinity, which is shown in one of the final scenes when he cannot play the trumpet. This understanding of the film is relevant as it is possible to trace a number of masculine roles Bleek is trying to take up but often fails to maintain. Thus, Bleek is a dominant male as he is the head of the band, but he loses this position after his injury. He is a dominating male in his relationships with a singer since he does not let her be on stage but keeps her in the role of a submissive female. He loses this woman to the man who took over the control over his band. The only sphere he manages to secure his masculinity in turns out to be completely disconnected from jazz as this is his fatherhood. He manages to be a dominant male in his family where he has all the power.
However, apart from gender-associated conflicts, the film touches upon other issues. For instance, the issues related to race and class are quite apparent. For example, the managers of the night club are Caucasian while the musicians are African-American. There is a sense of a certain conflict as managers want to keep the musicians within the boundaries of the contract while musicians want (quite fairly) more money since they bring significant profits to the managers. Clearly, the class conflict is also evident as the rich try to use the labor of the poor and increase their own profits. The concept of friend or foe is brought to the fore when one of the musicians brings his new girlfriend who appears to be white.
Furthermore, the film also shows the way music affects people’s lives or even identities. For instance, the hunger for fame and recognition often results in a lot of sorrows and abandonment of music. The destructive component of music is revealed through the story of the trumpet player who chooses his family (as the only rescue) rather than fame and stage. The film also captures and unveils some features of jazz of the 1990s. It is noteworthy that the music itself has changed significantly while the whole business is still characterized by the dominance of African American males on stage and Caucasian bosses.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the film in question brings to the fore a number of issues related to the world of jazz. The conflicts related to race, gender, and class are touched upon. The film can be regarded as an attempt to capture the moment within the history of jazz. The attempt is quite effective as the movie sheds light on the major aspects of the life of people related to this genre of music. The story of a musician and his band shows the way thousands of people tried to develop their careers in the world of music.