Black Music--whether it be jazz, blues, r&b, gospel, or soul--has always expressed, consciously or not, its African "oral" heritage, reflecting the conditions of a minority culture in the midst of a white majority. Black Talk is one of those rare books since LeRoi Jones's Blues People to examine the social function of black music in the diaspora; it sounds the depths of experience and maps the history of a culture from the jazz age to the revolutionary outbursts of the 1960s. Ben Sidran finds radical challenges to the Western, white literary tradition in such varied music as Buddy Bolden's loud and hoarse cornet style, the call and response between brass and reeds in a swing band, the emotionalism of gospel, the primitivism of Ornette Coleman, and the cool ethic of bebop. "The musician is the document," says Sidran. "He is the information himself. The impact of stored information is transmitted not through records or archives, but through the human response to life."
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(210mm x 133mm x 16mm)
Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
"Black talk" of course is black music is babble - oral/aural vs. white (Western Civilization) "linear semantics" as the author demonstrates several very un-hip times per page of this hodgepodge study of the relationship between music and nearly everything else in Black America from slavery on up, up, up. Sentences like "They had already accepted the oral orientation of nonanalysis and were learning how to apply the concept of actionality" abound as the author uses repetition and sociological gobbledygook to reconcile contradictions (he'd call it dialecticism) to arrive at the tautological center where anything goes. Every overworked culture hero from Marshall McLuhan to Ludwig Wittgenstein (not to mention Stokeley and Abbie) puts in at least a brief appearance in a vain attempt to lend erudition to what is essentially a slight history of the development of jazz, weak on soul, rhythm-and-blues, and nearly everything else. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ben Sidran
Ben Sidran is a performing and recording musician, producer, composer, host of radio and television music programs, music historian, and writer.