Billy Strayhorn helped create the world known as “Ellingtonia,” but his music was a world of its own. “Strayhorn in the Foreground” featured his suave, subtle, and surprisingly modern compositions for jazz orchestra. The concert was presented by Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies at Miller Theatre on Thursday, November 21, 2013.
This comprehensive study, the first to be written by an African American, is a precursor to the fields of cultural studies and critical race theory. William J. Harris discusses the implications of this sociocultural history of African American music and its unique place in American music history and culture. The talk marks the 50th anniversary of Amiri Baraka’s classic, which was published in New York City On September 25, 1963 with a first impression of 5000 copies and never went out of print.
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University of Kansas
In this interview with Professor Jim Merod, composer and trombonist Tom McIntosh reflects on overcoming many kinds of racial barriers, criticizes the idea of jazz as an expression of "primitive" human culture, and explores the impact of African-American culture on popular music.
This doctoral thesis argues that division between jazz and rock is an artifact of journalistic discourse on the subject, making reference to leading journals such as Down Beat and Rolling Stone.
The full text of a pathbreaking early book on jazz.
This article surveys the role of dance in black entertainment and its relation to the development of jazz in the first half of the 20th century. Malone finds that leading jazz instrumentalists gained formative experiences accompanying dancers, especially tap dancers. Musicians accordingly viewed dancers as practicing a sophisticated and influential form of jazz, and interaction between dance and music performance was seen as a vital sphere of improvisation.
"New Yorkers' imaginations operate on a large scale," claims Stewart, in their choice of orchestras as well as in other pursuits. This article describes the high level of musicianship, variety, and sheer numbers of big bands operating in the city, and surveys the venerable history of New York big bands beginning in the first decades of the 20th century.
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."