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Other titles in the Nathan I. Huggins Lectures series:
Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Nathan I. Huggins Lectures)by Robin D.G. Kelley
Synopses & Reviews
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, pianist Randy Weston and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik celebrated with song the revolutions spreading across Africa. In Ghana and South Africa, drummer Guy Warren and vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin fused local musical forms with the dizzying innovations of modern jazz. These four were among hundreds of musicians in the 1950s and '60s who forged connections between jazz and Africa that definitively reshaped both their music and the world.
Each artist identified in particular ways with Africa's struggle for liberation and made music dedicated to, or inspired by, demands for independence and self-determination. That music was the wild, boundary-breaking exultation of modern jazz. The result was an abundance of conversation, collaboration, and tension between African and African American musicians during the era of decolonization. This collective biography demonstrates how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how musical convergences and crossings altered politics and culture on both continents.
In a crucial moment when freedom electrified the African diaspora, these black artists sought one another out to create new modes of expression. Documenting individuals and places, from Lagos to Chicago, from New York to Cape Town, Robin Kelley gives us a meditation on modernity: we see innovation not as an imposition from the West but rather as indigenous, multilingual, and messy, the result of innumerable exchanges across a breadth of cultures.
"A fascinating and pathbreaking contribution to African diasporic and music studies. Africa Speaks, America Answers is a marvelous book." Manthia Diawara, Author Of in Search Of Africa
"Kelley vividly captures this all-star quartet riffing on new alternatives within jazz. Filled with stories and songs that need to be heard, Africa Speaks, America Answers is an essential addition to any jazz library." Jason Moran, Jazz Pianist, Composer, And 2010 Macarthur Fellow
"Africa Speaks, America Answers is an exquisitely rendered account of the lives of African and African American musicians, their music, and their worlds. Kelley transforms our understanding of jazz, the history of Africa and its diaspora, and the global circulation of culture." Penny M. Von Eschen, Author of Satchmo Blows Up The World: Jazz Ambassadors Play The Cold War
"Continually surprising." Peter Monaghan
Book News Annotation:
This engaging volume on the history of modern jazz in the 1950s and 1960s examines the nexus of music and politics in the interactions between music and musicians in the era of African liberation. The work examines African and African American artists who, excited by the world wide movement against colonialism, reached across borders to support and be supported, and in so doing, left indelible marks on the development of modern jazz and African culture around the world. The work discusses specific artists such as Guy Warren, Randy Weston, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Sathima Bea Benjamin, and includes several black and white photographs. Kelley is a professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This collective biography of four jazz musicians from Brooklyn, Ghana, and South Africa demonstrates how modern Africa reshaped jazz, how modern jazz helped form a new African identity, and how musical convergences and crossings altered the politics and culture of both continents.
About the Author
Robin D. G. Kelley is Gary B. Nash Chair of U.S. History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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