Author Krin Gabbard sets aside the myth-making around bassist Charles Mingus to argue that he created a unique language of emotions—and not just in music. After exploring the most important events in Mingus’s life, Gabbard’s book takes a careful look at Mingus as a writer as well as a composer and musician. Classically trained and of mixed race, he was an outspoken innovator on his instrument as well as a bandleader, composer, producer, and record-label owner.
Matt Sakakeeny is an ethnomusicologist and journalist, New Orleans resident and musician. This talk is on a thriving brass band tradition, in New Orleans today young black Americans continue to perform, listen, and dance to jazz. Brass band musicians are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans.
From Princeton University Press:
"Why did a minority of songs become jazz standards? Why do some songs--and not others--get rerecorded by many musicians? Shaping Jazzanswers this question and more, exploring the underappreciated yet crucial roles played by initial production and markets--in particular, organizations and geography--in the development of early twentieth-century jazz.
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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*"About Books, More or Less: In the Matter of Jazz," The New York Times, February 18, 1922
*"About Ragtime," Ragtime Review. August 1916
Adorno, Theodore. "On Jazz" and "Farewell to Jazz" in Essays in Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, pp. 470-495, 496-500
*Aldrich, Robert. "Drawing a Line for Jazz," New York Times, December 10, 1922 (Reprinted in Koenig 2002)
This seminar will undertake critical reading of the earliest commentaries on jazz (including the writings of musicians, literary critics, educators, the popular press, and artists (especially the Futurists, Surrealists, and Dadaists), and of the first attempts at jazz history. Discussion will include the dates and characteristics of the earliest jazz, the role of race in jazz commentary, and the place of jazz in twentieth century discourse. Recordings and films will supplement the readings.
Gushee asks whether New Orleans deserves its central place in the story of jazz' origins. He argues that, although ragtime was being "faked" throughout the country by the beginning of the 20th century, it was New Orleans' version that had the most influence on Chicago jazz and early swing that followed in the 1920s. Drawing on a thorough and imaginative command of primary sources, Gushee focuses on New Orleans musicians' distinctive manner of accompanying contemporary dance music to make his point.
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.