Robinson focuses on the relationship between writers associated with the Black Arts Movement (including Amiri Baraka, Addison Gayle, Jr., Hoyt Fuller, Larry Neal, Ishmael Reed, and James Stewart) and the experimental jazz of the 1960s. The Black Arts Movement looked to black musical expression as a site of authentic artistic "blackness." Robinson asserts, however, that the literati of this movement may have actually essentialized the black subject and obscured the diverse range of protest originating from the musical arena.
In this essay, often cited and reprinted, Schuller argues that a jazz solo's thematic structure should be considered on a par with its swing, melodic interest, and originality. He presents Sonny Rollins' "Blue Seven" solo as one possessing all of these qualities and analyzes it bar by bar to show the elements of formal thematic coherence within it.
Magee traces the history of one of the most oft-performed early jazz compositions. He shows that the popularity of Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" was not inevitable, even though it is now frequently found in lists of canonical jazz works. The composition was often overlooked and became featured almost by accident. Magee argues that the eventual adoption and fame of "King Porter Stomp" is a testament to the very real influence and statue of the song's composer, who had claimed hyperbolically to be the "inventor of jazz."
This dialogue was initiated by literary journal New Ohio Review between two professors of literature who have explored the meaning of jazz and improvisation for their craft. Rasula and Edwards begin by discussing how they happened to become interested in jazz in the first place and who sparked that interest. From that starting point the conversation ranges to how audiences for jazz may emerge and how communities may form around it (particularly those of various ethnic diaspora).
Caliban, a journal of alternative poetry, featured this collection of articles on the workings and the implications of Thelonious Monk's music. The contributions include poetry inspired by Monk, analysis of his music, and social commentary. These writings were featured in Caliban 4 (1988). To read the current issue online, please go to calibanonline.com.
Wilson squarely confronts the challenge of defining what “black music” is in all its vastness and diversity. He argues that it should not be thought of as a set of specific characteristics, but a conceptual approach to making music, “the manifestations of which are infinite.” Wilson refers to both aesthetic theory and detailed analysis of musical works to highlight the common threads he believes run through all black music.
© 1988 Olly Wilson. Used with permission of BMRJ. All rights reserved.
In this special issue (Nos. 71-72, Spring 2001-Spring 2002), Current Musicology drew together some of the most prominent scholars in the nascent field of jazz studies to deal with important and provocative questions the subject has raised. The volume was dedicated to Columbia professor Mark Tucker, whose untimely death on December 6, 2000 robbed the field of one of its leading lights. This JSO special feature presents selected articles from the issue. © Used by permission of Current Musicology and the authors of specific excerpts.
McMillan places Lee Morgan's early development and tastes within the context of the jazz scene in Philadelphia. Rather than viewing Morgan as an isolated hero or astounding prodigy, McMillan portrays his talent as a product of the flourishing jazz community that surrounded him.
McMillan is the author of a new book on Morgan, Delightfulee: the Life and Music of Lee Morgan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008). Material from the article posted here appears in this new volume. Purchasing information is available on the University of Michigan Press website.
Ulanov explores the early career of the pianist/composer in order to ask what the roots of his prodigious talent may be.
This review of Barry Ulanov's biography of Duke Ellington appeared in Ebony Magazine in January 1946. It summarizes Ulanov's account of the racial obstacles Ellington and his musicians faced and their various strategies for transcending them. "It is an American band," Ellington says of his orchestra, "because it is democratic."