Jazz from Detroit

Jazz from Detroit

by Mark Stryker


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Jazz from Detroit explores the city’s pivotal role in shaping the course of modern and contemporary jazz. With more than two dozen in-depth profiles of remarkable Detroit-bred musicians, complemented by a generous selection of photographs, Mark Stryker makes Detroit jazz come alive as he draws out significant connections between the players, eras, styles, and Detroit’s distinctive history.

Stryker’s story starts in the 1940s and ’50s, when the auto industry created a thriving black working and middle class in Detroit that supported a vibrant nightlife, and exceptional public school music programs and mentors in the community like pianist Barry Harris transformed the city into a jazz juggernaut. This golden age nurtured many legendary musicians—Hank, Thad, and Elvin Jones, Gerald Wilson, Milt Jackson, Yusef Lateef, Donald Byrd, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, and others. As the city’s fortunes change, Stryker turns his spotlight toward often overlooked but prescient musician-run cooperatives and self-determination groups of the 1960s and ’70s, such as the Strata Corporation and Tribe. In more recent decades, the city’s culture of mentorship, embodied by trumpeter and teacher Marcus Belgrave, ensured that Detroit continued to incubate world-class talent; Belgrave protégés like Geri Allen, Kenny Garrett, Robert Hurst, Regina Carter, Gerald Cleaver, and Karriem Riggins helped define contemporary jazz. The resilience of Detroit’s jazz tradition provides a powerful symbol of the city’s lasting cultural influence.

Stryker’s 21 years as an arts reporter and critic at the Detroit Free Press are evident in his vivid storytelling and insightful criticism. Jazz from Detroit will appeal to jazz aficionados, casual fans, and anyone interested in the vibrant and complex history of cultural life in Detroit.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472074266
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 07/08/2019
Pages: 358
Sales rank: 110,824
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Mark Stryker is an award-winning arts journalist and critic based in Detroit, Michigan, specializing in jazz, classical music, and visual art.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

A Note on Sources and Recordings xv

Part 1 Setting The Stage

Jazz in Detroit, 1900-1950 3

Part 2 The Golden Age, 1940-60

Opening Chorus 11

Gerald Wilson: Head and Heart 17

Yusef Lateef: Gentle Giant 26

Milt Jackson: Bags' Groove 35

Sheila Jordan: Sheila's Blues 44

Barry Harris: Professor of Bebop 53

Tommy Flanagan: A Legendary Touch 63

Kenny Burrell: Community Builder 72

Donald Byrd: Renaissance Man 81

Roland Hanna: Magician 90

Curtis Fuller: Trombone on Top 100

Louis Hayes: The (Cymbal) Beat Goes On 109

Ron Carter: The Right Note at the Right Time 118

Joe Henderson: The Phantom 127

Charles McPherson: Reminiscing by Ear 136

Part 3 The Jones Brothers

Opening Chorus 147

Hank Jones: One Extra Ace 150

Thad Jones: Jonesisms 158

Elvin Jones: Philosopher King 167

Part 4 Taking Control- Self-Determination In The 1960S And '70S

Opening Chorus 177

Detroit Artists Workshop, Detroit Creative Musicians Association, and Focus Novii 181

Contemporary Jazz Quintet and Strata Corporation 188

Tribe 197

Coda 203

Part 5 Marcus Belgrave And His Children

Marcus Belgrave: The Nurturer 207

Geri Allen: Back to the Future 217

Kenny Garrett: Sound and Spirit 226

Regina Carter: Searching for Roots 234

Gerald Cleaver: The Big Picture 242

Robert Hurst: Platonic Ideal 249

Rodney Whitaker: Family Man 256

James Carter: Volcano 264

Karriem Riggins: Dual Identity 272

Part 6 Tradition And Transition In The 2Ist Century

Opening Chorus 281

Present and Future: Ralphe Armstrong, Marion Hayden, Michael Malis, Marcus Elliot 282

Coda 293

Appendix A Jazz Musicians from Detroit 295

Appendix B List of Interviews 303

Acknowledgments 307

Index 309

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