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America’s Music: A Panel on Race and Jazz
Past Event

An exploration of the impacts of race in the development, shaping, acceptance, and future of Jazz. How does race manifest in the history of Jazz? Was Jazz a factor in past and current struggles for civil rights and social justice? Our invited panelists bring their experience to bear on these and other questions as we delve into the social structures surrounding the music. Featuring musician, filmmaker, and composer Aham Oluo, Rainier Avenue Radio DJ and Jazz aficionado Kevin “Big Poppy” Callahan, and education director at Seattle JazzED, Kelly Clingan.

About the panelists:

Kelly Clingan is the education director at Seattle JazzED. A graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, she is rooted in Seattle’s celebrated tradition of music education. In 2016, Kelly was named the University of Washington GWSS Alumni of the Year for her work on gender equity in jazz and in 2018 she served on the ‘Expanding Opportunities to Learn Jazz in After-School’ Taskforce at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Kelly plays trombone in Banda Vagos, a traditional Mexican Banda, performing through the Puget Sound area on a Weekly Basis.

Ahamefule J. Oluo is a Seattle-based musician, composer, comic, and writer. He spent 13 years as trumpeter and founding member of the groundbreaking jazz quartet, Industrial Revelation. As a writer and performer, he has been featured on This American Life. He has created two musicals, Now I’m Fine and Susan, both of which completed critically-acclaimed runs at the Public Theater in New York City. Now I’m Fine was adapted into the film Thin Skin which Oluo co-wrote, stars in, and composed the score. Thin Skin won Best Director at the Harlem Film Festival.

Kevin “Big Poppy” Callahan grew up in Chicago during the 60s and came to Seattle to finish High School. Always a lover and listener to music of all kinds, Kevin started collecting albums and then CDs, now totaling over 3500. His collection spans genres and generations. Big Poppy always wanted a radio show, and when the opportunity presented itself in 2017 he jumped at the chance. Now 5 years and over 265 episodes later, he’s hosting Jazz from The Cabinets at Rainier Avenue Radio and working through his collection of over 2000 Jazz recordings. Besides music, Kevin enjoys cooking – he’s known for his paella and his creativity with Italian cuisine; as well as time with family – his wife, their two children, and four grandchildren; and traveling.


Oct 20, 2022


Frank Buxton Auditorium



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Kelly Clingan

Portait of Kelly Clingan

Kevin "Big Poppy" Callahan

Ahamefule J. Oluo (Photo: Naomi Ishisaka)