Skip to main content

books

Jazz and Justice

Gregory N. Heires Portside
The book under review charts two worlds of the Jazz industry, paying attention both to the joy it brought to listeners alongside the depth of racism and economic exploitation behind the music.

books

Jazz from Detroit

George Grella Brooklyn Rail
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 and What Folk Music Means

John Jeremiah Sullivan The New Yorker
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.

books

A Vital Chapter in Jazz History

Michael J. Agovino The Village Voice
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.

books

The Genius of James Brown

Geoffrey O'Brien New York Review of Books
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.

books

‘Soul Serenade: Rhythm, Blues & Coming of Age Through Vinyl’

Reginald Harris Lamda Literary
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.
Subscribe to African American music