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It wasn't only Odetta's selection of material that set her apart from many other white folk singers in the early 1950s. It was also her extraordinary interpretive ability. Among Her Fans Were Rosa Parks, Bob Dylan, and Martin Luther King.
Followers and chroniclers of jazz have long known Detroit as the home and source of a host of the music's finest practitioners. This new book documents much of that history, bringing the story up to today.
Rhiannon Giddens's multicultural background has presented particular challenges of self-definition. She is an artist of color who plays and records what she describes as "black non-black music," reviving a forgotten history.
History is hidden in plain sight, you know; blacks in country music. It’s right there, in so many different ways. This album confronts the ways we are culturally conditioned to avoid talking about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny...
While much has changed in the 40 years that Rhiannon Giddens has been alive, her latest album, Freedom Highway, is a powerful testament to the inequality and injustice that remain. Other songs span various aspects of African American history.
In the 1970s a group of African American experimental jazz improvisors organized musician-sponsored concerts in a network of lower Manhattan lofts. The music they produced was not only sonically adventurous, much of it was also driven by a host of social concerns. Michael Heller has published a new history of this movement. Michael J. Agovino helps guide us through this important cultural moment.
Even in the era of the Beatles and Motown's roster of stars, the brilliant James Brown established a place that was his alone. His was not about magic, it was about power that could not be denied by anyone brought within its field of influence. What the book's author also finds is a wary solitariness that paradoxically found its fullest expression in Brown's ability to give himself so completely in performance to suggest a generosity approaching self-immolation.
This new memoir by pop culture and music critic Rashod Ollison is about growing up with rhythm and blues, and, writes reviewer Reginald Harris, "about the role of music in the lives of everyday music lovers, as both a consolation and a vision of a possible different future." Ollison writes about coming of age, coming to terms with his sexuality, and about what his early twin loves, literature and music, taught him.