Miller argues that Caribbean music is central to the emergence and development of jazz. The Caribbean islands were a crucial transfer point to the mainland United States for African rhythms and musical forms from the beginning of the slave trade until the present. Caribbean music was especially important in the development of jazz in New Orleans, America's Caribbean city.
An unlikely encounter between folklore archivist Alan Lomax and jazz composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton led to some remarkable recordings for the Library of Congress of Morton speaking, singing, and playing. This article recounts the events that led to the historic meeting and explores the significance of the life and music captured in the recordings. The article contains a wealth of information on Morton’s early life, his uneven career, his incisive and wide-ranging views on jazz and related musical forms, and his central place in the development and dissemination of jazz.
This article explores the historiography of early black music and its legacy. In examining texts from the 19th century to the 1940s, Ramsey finds that black music has always been a fertile source of controversy-and that the same issues still resonate in current debates. He takes as his starting point the cleavage between "cosmopolitan" and "provincial" outlooks, which viewed American music from a European perspective, or a more resolutely and defiantly American one, respectively.
Pickering examines Stratton's popular blackface routine in late 19th century Britain. He argues that Victorian society defined itself as modern and civilized vis-à-vis a stereotyped racial "other"-yet also cynically suppressed awareness of the brutal colonial oppression attending its growing empire. Stratton made "visible for his British audiences what was otherwise evaded or concealed ‘inside themselves'."
This article discusses the research methods and issues involved in investigating the musical migration from New Orleans to Chicago in the early 20th century and surveys research sources on this period of early jazz. Wang seeks to put several myths to rest, such as that of a musical exodus after the closing of Storyville, New Orleans' red light district, and of a rapid, unidirectional flow of talent between the two cities.
The full text of a pathbreaking early book on jazz.
In Playing Ad Lib, musicologist John Whiteoak explores improvisation in music that was never recorded. His evidence consists of print sources and anecdotes from throughout Australia. These include incomplete scores, published execution "methods" (e.g., for playing ragtime), snippets of advertisements, and published stories.
This essay documents the absorption of jazz by the European artistic vanguard between 1910 and 1930. Because of jazz' perceived spontaneous and libidinous qualities, avant-garde artists exploited it as a symbol of modernism "like a decal on a traveler's bag," in turn preparing jazz' appropriation by the world of fashion of that time.
In his Introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, O'Meally explores whether the book might be a "blues novel," and whether this quality might be the root of its continuing resonance for us.
Three professors of English and experts in African-American studies, Jonathan Arac, Susan K. Harris, and David L. Smith, present their views on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and on Robert O'Meally's interpretation of it in "Blues for Huckleberry," the Introduction to the Barnes and Noble Classics version of Twain's work.