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Music of the African Diaspora series

The Music of the African Diaspora series is published by the University of California Press and the Center for Black Music Research. The series "seeks to increase our understanding of black music genres and their importance to the cultures of the Atlantic world, including their influence on African musical styles. Books in the series examine the wide-ranging music of the African diaspora, including the folk-derived musical styles of the Americas as well as European-influenced concert hall music of the entire black Atlantic world, by analyzing issues critical to our interpretation of the music itself and exploring the relationships between music and the other black expressive arts."


California Soul: Music of African Americans in the West

Editor: Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje and Eddie S. Meadows

Publication date: 1998

Music Of The African Diaspora 1

University of California Press

“Focusing on blues, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, and soul music, California Soul is one of the first books to explore the rich musical heritage of African Americans in California."

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William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions

Author: Catherine Parsons Smith

Publication date: 2000

Music Of The African Diaspora 2

University of California Press

"This book brings William Grant Still out of the archives and examines his place in America's musical heritage. It also provides a revealing window into our recent cultural past."

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Jazz on the Road: Don Albert's Musical Life

Author: Christopher Wilkinson

Publication date: 2001

Music Of The African Diaspora 3

University of California Press

"Christopher Wilkinson uncovers a fascinating and unexplored side of American musical and social history in this richly detailed account of Don Albert's musical career and the multicultural forces that influenced it .... Jazz on the Road shows the importance of live performance in bringing jazz to America, and succeeds brilliantly in depicting an era, a locale, and a way of life."

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Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story between the Great Wars

Author: William A. Shack

Publication date: 2001

Music Of The African Diaspora 4

University of California Press

"This book is the first comprehensive treatment of the rise and decline of the African American music community in Paris; in it, he considers the international dimensions of black experience in the modern era and explores the similarities and differences of Harlem-style jazz and culture in Europe and America."

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Dead Man Blues: Jelly Roll Morton Way Out West

Author: Phil Pastras

Publication date: 2001

Music Of The African Diaspora 5

University of California Press

"In Dead Man Blues, Phil Pastras sets the record straight on the two periods (1917-1923 and 1940-1941) that Jelly Roll Morton spent on the West Coast. In addition to rechecking sources, correcting mistakes in scholarly accounts, and situating eyewitness narratives within the histories of New Orleans or Los Angeles, Pastras offers a fresh interpretation of the life and work of Morton, one of the most important and influential early practitioners of jazz."

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What Is This Thing Called Jazz? African American Musicians as Artists, Critics, and Activists

Author: Eric Porter

Publication date: 2002

Music Of The African Diaspora 6

University of California Press

"What Is This Thing Called Jazz? challenges interpretive orthodoxies by showing how much black jazz musicians have struggled against both the racism of the dominant culture and the prescriptive definitions of racial authenticity propagated by the music's supporters, both white and black."

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Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop

Author: Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr.

Publication date: 2003

Music Of The African Diaspora 7

University of California Press

“This powerful book covers the vast and various terrain of African American music, from bebop to hip-hop. .... Race Music illustrates how, by transcending the boundaries between genres, black communities bridged generational divides and passed down knowledge of musical forms and styles. It also considers how the discourse of soul music contributed to the vibrant social climate of the Black Power Era."

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Lining Out the Word: Dr. Watts Hymn Singing in the Music of Black Americans

Author: William T. Dargan

Publication date: 2006

Music Of The African Diaspora 8

University of California Press

"Lining Out the Word traces the history of lining out from the time of slavery, when African American slaves adapted the practice for their own uses, blending it with other music, such as work songs. Dargan explores the role of lining out in worship and pursues the cultural implications of this practice far beyond the limits of the church, showing how African Americans wove African and European elements together to produce a powerful and unique cultural idiom."

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Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba

Author: Robin D. Moore

Publication date: 2006

Music Of The African Diaspora 9

University of California Press

“Music and Revolution provides a dynamic introduction to the most prominent artists and musical styles that have emerged in Cuba since 1959 and to the policies that have shaped artistic life."

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From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

Author: Raul A. Fernandez

Publication date: 2006

Music Of The African Diaspora 10

University of California Press

“This book explores the complexity of Cuban dance music and the webs that connect it, musically and historically, to other Caribbean music, to salsa, and to Latin Jazz."

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"Mek Some Noise": Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad

Author: Timothy Rommen

Publication date: 2007

Music Of The African Diaspora 11

University of California Press

This "ethnographic study of Trinidadian gospel music, engages the multiple musical styles circulating in the nation's Full Gospel community and illustrates the carefully negotiated and contested spaces that they occupy in relationship to questions of identity."

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The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.: First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy

Author: Alton Augustus Adams

Editor: Mark Claque

Publication date: 2008

Music Of The African Diaspora 12

University of California Press

"Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., was a musician, writer, hotelier, and the first black bandmaster of the United States Navy. Born in the Virgin Islands in 1889, Adams joined the U.S. military in 1917. Although naval policy at the time restricted blacks to menial jobs, Adams and his all-black ensemble provided a bridge between the local population and their all-white naval administrators. His memoirs, edited by Mark Clague, with a foreword by Samuel Floyd, Jr., reveal an inspired activist who believed music could change the world, mitigate racism, and bring prosperity to his island home."

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Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

Author: Amirir Baraka

Publication date: 2010

Music Of The African Diaspora 13

University of California Press

A collection of writings in which "Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encountered."

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Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas

Author: Martin Munro

Publication date: 2010

Music Of The African Diaspora 14

University of California Press

"Long a taboo subject among critics, rhythm finally takes center stage in this book's dazzling, wide-ranging examination of diverse black cultures across the New World. Martin Munro’s groundbreaking work traces the central - and contested - role of music in shaping identities, politics, social history, and artistic expression."

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Funky Nassau: Roots, Routes, and Representation in Bahamian Popular Music

Author: Timothy Rommen

Publication date: 2011

Music Of The African Diaspora 15

University of California Press

"This book examines the role music has played in the formation of the political and national identity of the Bahamas. Timothy Rommen analyzes Bahamian musical life as it has been influenced and shaped by the islands’ location between the United States and the rest of the Caribbean; tourism; and Bahamian colonial and postcolonial history. Focusing on popular music in the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, in particular rake-n-scrape and Junkanoo, Rommen finds a Bahamian music that has remained culturally rooted in the local even as it has undergone major transformations."

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Blowin' the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene

Author: Travis A. Jackson

Publication date: 2011

Music Of The African Diaspora 16

University of California Press

"Blowin’ the Blues Away examines how jazz has thrived in New York following its popular resurgence in the 1980s. Using interviews, in-person observation, and analysis of live and recorded events, ethnomusicologist Travis A. Jackson explores both the ways in which various participants in the New York City jazz scene interpret and evaluate performance, and the criteria on which those interpretations and evaluations are based."

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The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop

Author: Guthrie P. Ramsey

Publication date: 2013

Music Of The African Diaspora 17

University of California Press

"In this first extended study of the social significance of Powell’s place in the American musical landscape, Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. shows how the pianist expanded his own artistic horizons and moved his chosen idiom into new realms. Illuminating and multi-layered, The Amazing Bud Powell centralizes Powell’s contributions as it details the collision of two vibrant political economies: the discourses of art and the practice of blackness."

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Last updated August 2013