Dancing in Your Head: Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Beyond / Edition 1

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As music columnist for The Nation, Gene Santoro has established himself as an important new critical voice, able to write well on a broad spectrum of popular music and jazz without losing touch with the cutting edge of today's music scene. About Nat "King" Cole, Santoro comments: "adjectives can't describe the swinging, ingratiating self-confidence laced with tenderness that colors Nat "King" Cole's singing. His baritone/tenor is so airy and elemental, so palpably physical, it invites you in, then surrounds you glowingly..." And on the highly successful rock band Living Colour, Santoro is no less evocative: "hardcore metal raveups slam into bluesy ballads and psychedelicized pop, lilting Caribbean inflections collide with hiphop scrambles of prerecorded material and touches of funk."
Dancing in Your Head gathers Santoro's liveliest reviews and essays for the first time, introducing a fresh and provocative perspective on several decades of musicians and their work. Santoro covers a wide musical vista, from the legendary blues singer Robert Johnson to Public Enemy's controversial rap lyrics, from the long running clash between blues and African American gospel to the rock iconoclast Neil Young, from the great James Brown to George Hay, the founder of the Grand Ole Opry. Documenting the evolution of jazz, rock and roll, and rap, Santoro's observations are incisive, honest, and reflective. Of his early exposure to Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Bela Bartok, Santoro remarks, "That sense of wonder and discovery is what happens when you've been hit by art's immediate vatic power. It has never left me, has been touched and renewed by each encounter I've valued." Santoro examines the staying power of music legends Lou Reed, Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, and Sun Ra, the freewheeling jazz artist who prefers to call himself a tone artist rather than a musician. Special highlights include several pieces on Miles Davis; book reviews, including one on Gunther Schuller's two-volume History of Jazz; a lively and detailed profile of the Neville Brothers; and a discussion of jazz great Ornette Coleman that compares him to Orson Welles and Charles Ives.
Taken together the pieces in Dancing In Your Head examine the historical roots of today's popular music while offering insight into performers and trends that dominate the current scene. Balancing a critical and historical sensibility with an unharnessed enthusiasm for all forms of music, Santoro is an ideal guide to the old and new.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Succinct, candid, and sharp as a surgeon."—Gary Giddins, author of Faces in the Crowd

"Santoro...is an advocate of hard thinking about great music. We need more of those."—The Wire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195101232
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gene Santoro is music columnist for The Nation, covers music for The New York Daily News, and is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly and People.

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Table of Contents

1. Phonograph Blues 3
2. Hellhound on His Trail 9
3. Lift Every Voice and Sing 12
4. Doing It to Death 18
5. Take It to the River 24
6. Born on the Bayou 28
7. New Orleans's Hidden Treasures 31
8. Soul Queen of New Orleans 33
9. Uptown 36
10. Country Comforts 48
11. Androgyne with a Lariat 54
12. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues 56
13. Austin's Eraserhead 58
14. The Layla Sessions 60
15. Beckology 70
16. Rockin' in the Free World 85
17. Still Alive: The Grateful Dead 89
18. New York Lou 91
19. On the Border 95
20. Payola Guys 97
21. Turn On Your Love Light 99
22. Rock Vaudeville 103
23. Good Day at Black Rock 108
24. The Godfathers of Rap 112
25. Don't Believe the Hype 117
26. Mr. Ambience 125
27. Them Ol' Bahamas Blues 128
28. Dancing in Your Head 131
29. The Blackwell Project 138
30. E.S.P. 144
31. Rolling with the Tape 150
32. The Serpent's Tooth 160
33. Prince of Darkness 163
34. Notes from Underground 172
35. Hidden Histories 179
36. Gunther Schuller's Memory Palace 185
37. Preservation Hall Comes to Carnegie 192
38. Nature Boy 194
39. The Two Oscars 198
40. The Gypsy King 204
41. The Wizard of Waukesha 206
42. A Box of Mr. Overdub 211
43. Collier's Ellington Follies 214
44. Epitaph 218
45. Mingus's Sancho Panza 220
46. Rahsaan to the Moon 225
47. Space Is the Place 228
48. Surfing on the Keys 234
49. Music by Association 237
50. Unplugging the Enlightenment 243
51. Child Is Father to the Music 248
52. In and Out of the Tradition 254
53. The Knitting Factory 258
54. Monk Goes Downtown 260
55. The Nurturer 267
56. The Clark Kent of the Electric Guitar 270
57. Downtown Scenes 273
58. Fractured Fairy Tales 277
59. Caos Totale 278
60. On the Street Where You Live 279
61. East Village Jumpcuts 281
62. Naked City 286
63. A Star Is Made 287
64. Master of Tributes 295
65. The Big Apple Avant-garde 298
Index 305
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