• Reading List

    There is no seeing blacknuss til you see so big it has no boundaries. Here is the beginning of a reading list. Please comment or add a title.

    Houston A. Baker, Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory.

    Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism

    Michael Gomez, Black Crescent: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas.

    Leroi Jones, Blues People: Negro Music in White America.

    Albert Murray, The Omni-Americans: Some Alternatives to the Folklore of White Supremacy.

    Peter Guarlnick, Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the "King of the Delta Blues Singers."

    Elijah Wald, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.

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  • The Gates book is a great one. The Amiri Baraka "Blues People" is somewhat stultifying if I remember correctly.

    Some more closely related to the music:

    John Coltrane: His Life and Music (The Michigan American Music Series)
    by Lewis Porter

    Really the Blues by Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow

    Point From Which Creation Begins: The Black Artists' Group of St. Louis
    by Benjamin Looker

    On a Mission: Selected Poems and a History of the Last Poets
    by Abiodun Oyewole and Kim Green

    (this last one was available as a trade cut-out for about $1 the last time I bought a copy. Now, it's as rare as hen's teeth.)

    jazzoetry is poetry--last poets
    In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed--William S. Burroughs
  • Here is one of the more interesting books on and about music I have read...



    And personally, I like the Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka) book. You just need to look at it in context (albeit you probably have more of that than I beelzbubba).

  • Eric Porter, What Is This Thing Called Jazz?

    Focuses on how the musicians themselves discuss the music and features a lot of material from Marion Brown, Wadada Leo Smith, and Reggie Workman.

  • DickFlex said:
    Eric Porter, What Is This Thing Called Jazz?

    Focuses on how the musicians themselves discuss the music and features a lot of material from Marion Brown, Wadada Leo Smith, and Reggie Workman.


    gonna have to get that one. thanks df.

    jazzoetry is poetry--last poets
    In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed--William S. Burroughs
  • Bruce Jackson, Get Your Ass in the Water & Swim Like Me: African-American Narrative Poetry from the Oral Tradition

    "Skip" Gates enjoys this one too.

  • A while back I wrote a journal about Francis Bebey's book "African Music: A People's Art".

    I think that it is worth reading, but a bit dated. It's like cookbooks from 1970. They will say stuff like "to cook this, you will need exotic spices like oregano and rosemary. You may need to be able to find some in a really ethnic neighborhood. Otherwise substitute salt and pepper."

    On the other hand, Bebey is a clear and articulate writer. And as an African musician he speaks with some authority:

    http://www.last.fm/user/barewires/journal/2006/07/29/195023/

    To wander in the fields of flowers, pull the thorns from your heart.
    • pjebsen said...
    • Subscriber
    • 12 May 2007, 00:45

    I'm Very Much Into (Auto-)Biographies

  • Pretty interesting musical/cultural history through a race-relations lens: Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture by Kevin Phinney.

    And Miles, the autobiography of Miles Davis written with Quincy Troupe, is an awesome read.

  • More volumes for the biblioteca

    Glad to see this thread developed. Here's some more pearls for the string:

    Catch a Fire, Timothy White: 'Sanyone know more bnooks that provide a background on the birth of reggae movies and rastafarianism? List 'em, please.

    Beneath the Underdog, Charles Mingus: Magnificent pile of words by one of the great egomaniacs of the African diaspora.

    The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz, 1930-1945, Gunther Schuller

    and

    Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development, Gunther Schuller: Both are somewhat stuffy and doctrinaire, but Schuller is a madscientist. He makes the scene @ Birdland in NYC.

    A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul, John A Jackson: Who's got any other regional stories to tell? List 'em, OK?

    Can’t Stop and It Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, Hua Hsu: Brilliant corners of a movement.

    Hope to hear from more of you wit what you think are the best.

    Play on, playas.

    bw

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  • I really want to read Can't Stop and It Won't Stop. It's high on the reading list for the summer.

    Another good book, though not strictly about music, is Hip: The History by John LeLand. Will be of interest to music freaks, even though, as I said, it's not strictly about music. It's more about socio-cultural developments, specifically "hipness". Not in the modern day "hipster" sense I thought when I bought it, but it's a study of how certain ideas develop through a subculture and come to shape mainstream culture. He traces it back to the days of American slavery and blackface minstresly through jazz, early cartoons, white hip-hoppers like Eminem, and the internet/information age.

    • pjebsen said...
    • Subscriber
    • 17 May 2007, 23:05

    And there's more ...

    Not really deep, but enjoyable

    The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah (a New York City novel)

    Another book in my 'Yet Unread' stack which may be recommendable

    Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It by Kaleem Aftab & Spike Lee

  • Jess pimpin my own thread...

    ...but it is 'bout what ya should read next, so hit it up:

    Brovah Wayne Drops Some Science.

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    • tbrock said...
    • User
    • 31 May 2007, 23:21
    Great to see some something about the lit and history...

    Some things I've read, am in the process of reading, and are waiting for me on my shelf:

    Rock The Mic Right: The Language of Hip Hop Culture - H. Samy Alim...an anthropological, linguistic examination of hip hop language...fantastic analysis so far, and great interviews with artists talking about their craft...JT the Bigga Figga, Mos Def...

    The Hip Hop Generation Bakari Kitwana

    Why White Kids Love Hip Hop Bakari Kitwana...Important read for me, being a white kid who loves hip hop...

    Hip Hop America Nelson George...haven't started this one yet...

    To A Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road Wynton Marsalis...a true scholar of music, Wynton always has something brilliant to say. Remember him in Jazz, the Ken Burns documentary?

    Also, for those interested in Can't Stop Won't Stop, which is also on my list, Chang has a great web site complete with blog
    also, check out his blog entry with a link about KRS One's discussion about hip hop scholarship, in particular CSWS

    that's all...

  • Mo Reading, Mo Reading

    I posted this elsewhere, but if you are interested in 90s jazz, you might wanna move through this post to the source.

    Go to Destination Out for a sone well spun on jazz in the last decade.

    Play on, playas. Throw your arms in the air. Wave 'em like you just dont care.

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  • Thanks for the great recommendations on books! I will have to check some of them out!!

    If anyone reads them or has please write reviews here!!

    =)

  • Stevie Wonder - one of the best

    Just thought I'd resurrect this thread and give you something to pre-order. It's Stevie Wonders 60th birthday on May 13th and to coincide with that date is the release of what claims to be the first 'definitive' biography of Stevie's life and career.

    It's written by Mark Ribowsky who has also written about The Supremes/Motown. I'm a big fan of Stevie's so I'm actually looking forwards to the release of this book as it promises to be very in depth. :)

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