The Underworld Jazz Festival was launched in 2018 to amplify rich, colorful and nuanced Black art traditions. They use the word “underworld” because despite the revenue it generates, Black art remains marginal to mainstream society. They use the term “jazz”; less as genre and more as a way to think about approach to music, creativity and life.
In 2022, the Jazz festival was crowned as the “Black Arts” Festival to truly demonstrate our dedication to 360° of Black Creativity.
Underworld Jazz & Black Arts Festival exercises traditions such as the Mobilization of Congo Square [Pop Up Improvised Jazz] and the cultivation of collaborations between Cincinnati based, regional and International artists. Here Napoleon Maddox, UNDERWORLD Jazz Festival’s executive Director, explains the “Mobilization of Congo Square” project :
The UNDERWORLD Black Arts Jazz Festival is sponsored by the Common Good ALLIANCE, Arts Wave, BLINK, Black Spirits Legacy, Cincinnati Arts Association and Trinity Films Entertainment Group.