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. Miller carefully documents musical exchanges between Caribbean musicians and residents of New Orleans, and explores Caribbean influences in the music of seminal jazz figures who hailed from that city, like Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, and of Duke Ellington. Miller also surveys modernists, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Kelly and Randy Weston, who refreshed their vocabulary by dipping into the pool of Caribbean culture.