Music of the African Diaspora

Published by: University of California Press

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Music of the African Diaspora

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Blowin’ the Blues Away

Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene

Travis Jackson

New York City has always been a mecca in the history of jazz, and in many ways the city’s jazz scene is more important now than ever before. Blowin’ the Blues Away examines how jazz has thrived in New York following its popular resurgence in the 1980s. Using interviews, in-person observation, and analysis of live and recorded events, ethnomusicologist Travis A. Jackson explores both the ways in which various participants in the New York City jazz scene interpret and evaluate performance, and the criteria on which those interpretations and evaluations are based. Through the notes and words of its most accomplished performers and most ardent fans, jazz appears not simply as a musical style, but as a cultural form intimately influenced by and influential upon American concepts of race, place, and spirituality.

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Different Drummers

Rhythm and Race in the Americas

Martin Munro

Long a taboo subject among critics, rhythm finally takes center stage in this book's dazzling, wide-ranging examination of diverse black cultures across the New World. Martin Munro’s groundbreaking work traces the central—and contested—role of music in shaping identities, politics, social history, and artistic expression. Starting with enslaved African musicians, Munro takes us to Haiti, Trinidad, the French Caribbean, and to the civil rights era in the United States. Along the way, he highlights such figures as Toussaint Louverture, Jacques Roumain, Jean Price-Mars, The Mighty Sparrow, Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant, Joseph Zobel, Daniel Maximin, James Brown, and Amiri Baraka. Bringing to light new connections among black cultures, Munro shows how rhythm has been both a persistent marker of race as well as a dynamic force for change at virtually every major turning point in black New World history.

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From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

Raul A. Fernandez

This book explores the complexity of Cuban dance music and the webs that connect it, musically and historically, to other Caribbean music, to salsa, and to Latin Jazz. Establishing a scholarly foundation for the study of this music, Raul A. Fernandez introduces a set of terms, definitions, and empirical information that allow for a broader, more informed discussion. He presents fascinating musical biographies of prominent performers Cachao López, Mongo Santamaría, Armando Peraza, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Cándido Camero, Chocolate Armenteros, and Celia Cruz. Based on interviews that the author conducted over a nine-year period, these profiles provide in-depth assessments of the musicians’ substantial contributions to both Afro-Cuban music and Latin Jazz. In addition, Fernandez examines the links between Cuban music and other Caribbean musics; analyzes the musical and poetic foundations of the Cuban son form; addresses the salsa phenomenon; and develops the aesthetic construct of sabor, central to Cuban music.

Copub: Center for Black Music Research

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Jazz Diasporas

Race, Music, and Migration in Post-World War II Paris

Rashida K. Braggs

At the close of the Second World War, waves of African American musicians migrated to Paris, eager to thrive in its reinvigorated jazz scene. Jazz Diasporas challenges the notion that Paris was a color-blind paradise for African Americans. On the contrary, musicians adopted a variety of strategies to cope with the cultural and social assumptions that confronted them throughout their careers in Paris, particularly as France became embroiled in struggles over race and identity when colonial conflicts like the Algerian War escalated. Using case studies of prominent musicians and thoughtful analysis of interviews, music, film, and literature, Rashida K. Braggs investigates the impact of this postwar musical migration. She examines key figures including musicians Sidney Bechet, Inez Cavanaugh, and Kenny Clarke and writer and social critic James Baldwin to show how they performed both as artists and as African Americans. Their collaborations with French musicians and critics complicated racial and cultural understandings of who could represent “authentic” jazz and created spaces for shifting racial and national identities—what Braggs terms “jazz diasporas.”

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The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.

First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy

Alton Augustus Adams

Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., was a musician, writer, hotelier, and the first black bandmaster of the United States Navy. Born in the Virgin Islands in 1889, Adams joined the U.S. military in 1917. Although naval policy at the time restricted blacks to menial jobs, Adams and his all-black ensemble provided a bridge between the local population and their all-white naval administrators. His memoirs, edited by Mark Clague, with a foreword by Samuel Floyd, Jr., reveal an inspired activist who believed music could change the world, mitigate racism, and bring prosperity to his island home.

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