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Poet, playwright, and music critic Baraka (Blues People: Negro Music in White America) delivers another critical work on America's classical music, jazz, in his almost lyrical style of writing. Through previously published essays, reviews, and liner notes, he explores the cultural development of jazz music with respect to African American artists, the minstrel treatment of African American music, and the charged environment of its creation. His encounters with music greats, such as Nina Simone, and actor Bill Cosby pave a road of exploration to how some artists were affected by this treatment. Charged interpretations of how the music evolves into other forms are packaged with artist biographies and trees illustrating how these artists influenced others. Coltrane and Monk are among those discussed, and even Springsteen is found on the fringes of Baraka's commentary. Music lovers as well as anyone interested in African American culture will dig this book; academic libraries will find it suitable for history, music, and sociology programs.