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The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues

The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues

by Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Poet and playwright Baraka and his poet wife here collect his recent talks, articles, book and record reviews about jazz, blues and soul, 34 poems, the text for an anti-nuclear jazz musical and 15 of her poems. Declaring that he is ``not a populist . . . but a Marxist-Leninist,'' Baraka, in this angry, repetitious agitprop material, seems to use almost every occasion possible to attack ``white chauvinism.'' Instead of focusing on the music itself, to which he is clearly addicted, he focuses on the fact that ``black music, like black people generally, is . . . left to the tender mercies of white racist monopoly capitalists'' and that ``jazz writing, like everything else in the society, has shifted toward the right.'' More than ever, he is convinced that white jazz critics impose a critical standard on the music that is opposed to the standards the music itself carries with it and describes. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May 19)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This collection of jazz essays, poetry, and drama brings to mind Baraka's early promise as a jazz critic. His essays on the jazz avant garde and the history of black jazz are still models of social insight and graceful, imaginative writing. But throughout his radical political transformationsfrom bohemian to black nationalist mystic to Marxist-Leninistart and artifice alone have never been quite enough, and this collection reveals his weaknesses. Leftist slogan-mongering belabors his single theme: capitalist exploitation of black music. Many of the essays are really liner notes; perfunctory and cliched. At his best the writing is aggressive and hilariously sarcastic but the book lacks the critical bite of Black Music or Blues People. The book also includes poetry by Baraka's wife, Amina, whose work very closely resembles his own. For appropriate collections of Afro-Americana.Calvin Reid, ``Library Journal''

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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