Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity

Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity

by James Smethurst
Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity

Brick City Vanguard: Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black Modernity

by James Smethurst

Paperback(First Edition)

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Amiri Baraka is unquestionably the most recognized leader of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and one of the key literary and cultural figures of the postwar United States. While Baraka's political and aesthetic stances changed considerably over the course of his career, Brick City Vanguard demonstrates the continuity in his thinking about the meaning of black music in the material, psychic, and ideological development of black people. Drawing on primary texts, paratexts (including album liner notes), audio and visual recordings, and archival sources, James Smethurst takes a new look at how Baraka's writing on and performance of music envisioned the creation of an African American people or nation, as well as the growth and consolidation of a black working class within that nation, that resonates to this day. This vision also provides a way of understanding the encounter of black people with what has been called "the urban crisis" and a projection of a liberated black future beyond that crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625345158
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date: 05/29/2020
Series: African American Intellectual History
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JAMES SMETHURST is professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments   ix

Brick City Vanguard   1

“That’s Where Sarah Vaughan Lives”
Amiri Baraka, Newark, and the Landscape and Soundscape of Black Modernity   17

“Formal Renditions”
Revisiting the Baraka-Ellison Debate   59

“A Marching Song for Some Strange Uncharted Country” The Black Future and Amiri Baraka’s Liner Notes   91

“Soul and Madness”
Baraka’s Recorded Music and Poetry from Bohemia to Black Arts   117

“I See Him Sometimes”
William Parker Reimagines and Amiri Baraka Glosses Curtis Mayfield   159

Blues People at Symphony Hall   197

Notes   203

Index   221

What People are Saying About This

William J. Harris

James Smethurst has read everything on Baraka and produced an original and important book. Brick City Vanguard is a major contribution to the field.

Jean-Philippe Marcoux

Once again, with Brick City Vanguard, James Smethurst proves that he is one of the leading scholars of the Black Arts Movement, of New Left literary studies, and of one of its emblematic writers, Amiri Baraka.

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