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Blues People: Negro Music in White America [Anglais] [Broché]

Leroi Jones

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Présentation de l'éditeur

"The path the slave took to 'citizenship' is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz... [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music."

So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.

Biographie de l'auteur

Amiri Baraka, born Leroi Jones in 1934, is a poet, playwright, novelist, critic, and politcal activist. Best known for his highly acclaimed, award-winning play "Dutchman," as well as "The Slave, The Toliet," and numerous poetry collections. He lives in Newark, New Jersey.

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Première phrase
When black people got to this country, they were Africans, a foreign people. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best Starting Point 24 août 2005
Par N. Guven Ilter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I actually purchased the first paperback edition this book a long time ago, and I learned that it had been out of print for quite some time. It was a time when I was a casual listener of blues and jazz, and didn't think about the roots of the music I was listening to. The book was interesting enough, but it didn't have information about more contemporary stuff, as it was printed in 1963.

Recently, I found this book in the upper shelves of my library, having completely forgotten about it in spite of my infatuation with the blues for the better part of the last two decades. It was a most welcome surprise for me, as it contained a compact but comprehensive introduction to the time period from the first Africans came to America to the 1920s when their music was first recorded, and laid the groundwork to how this music evolved in a sociological context. The rural lifestyle, the reflections of the exodus from the south on the music and subsequent refined, urban sound are discussed in this framework.

Although it would not really appeal to the casual reader and listener, "Blues People" is invaluable for the serious blues and jazz fan for setting the music into the general context of social life and external effects that made this music what it is today.
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a classic in every sense of the word 13 avril 2000
Par T. Bekken - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is probably the greatest ever written on the early history of black music in America. With rare clarity and glowing intensity, Baraka traces the evolution of black forms such as blues and jazz back to Africa, and presents the reader with genuine insight into the world of the creators of these important 20th century art forms. The book is as gripping as any novel you will ever read, and also crammed with facts and mindboggling lines of thought. Anybody with even the slightest interest in modern black music needs to read this book, and consider its contents thoroughly.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 music as a human expression 20 septembre 2001
Par nadav haber - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Amiri Baraka (aka Leroy Jones) wrote a book about the move from Africa to slavery and from slavery to citizenship, and from "African to Negro" in his words. As music was the most profound artistic expression of this move, Baraka analyses each stage of social change through the music it produced.
As Baraka concentrates on the process, he does not put any emphasis on names and details of the musicians. The book is not in any way a list of "who's who in Blues or Jazz".
The book is critical of American mainstream culture, describing it as shallow and un-creative. Baraka observes that Blacks who have tried to belong to the mainstream (white) society have not been able to produce any music of value. He believes that their rejection of their Blues (slavery) roots made them too as shallow and un-creative as the society they wanted to join.
Baraka is most knowledgeable of Bebop and its developments up to free Jazz, as they are the closest to his generation. He is admittedly less connected to country blues, which for him expresses the first stage in the post slavery black society.
The book is magnificent in its originality and boldness. I think it is essential reading for anyone interested in African American music and/or culture.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 gone where the Southern cross the yella dog 21 février 2007
Par Bob Newman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The other day a friend rashly claimed that art and music were equally hard to describe in words. I asked him to tell me about a certain painting of Picasso's. He did, but claimed it wasn't accurate. "OK," I said, "you're right, but now tell me about Mozart's Jupiter Symphony." He opened his mouth, closed it, looked at me, and said, "Yeah, I see what you mean." Writing a book about the blues would be equally hard, it seems to me. So, LeRoi Jones did what he could, back in 1963, to tie the indescribable to the more concrete. He wrote a social history of African-Americans in the USA through the prism of music or---maybe on the principle of red and yellow tile floors (are they red with yellow designs or yellow with red designs ?)---he wrote a book on African-American music through the prism of social history. It is one of the most important books on American music (and American society) that you can find. It has stood the test of time. He begins from the Africans who came to North America as slaves bearing very different cultures, confronted by an absolutely different view of the world emanating from their new masters. Here he tries to show how African music became transformed into African-AMERICAN music and then American. He continues then up through the generations of slavery, to Emancipation, migration to the cities, World War I, the Depression, World War II and the bebop age of the Fifties. The book is pre-Civil Rights movement, pre-Martin Luther King. Jones may have looked down on the NAACP and its allies as "white liberal supported organizations", I'm not sure, but they don't appear. The times are symbolized by the use of "Negro" throughout. I agree, the tome is dated, but don't reject it, don't pooh-pooh the man. This is a very intelligent, very worthwhile book. Anyone, particularly from outside the USA, who wants to know the history of African-American music within its social environment ought still to read BLUES PEOPLE. He writes, "If Negro music can be seen to be the result of certain attitudes, certain specific ways of thinking about the world (and only ultimately about the ways in which music can be made), then the basic hypothesis of this book is understood." [p.153] Jones goes to great lengths to get to the bottom of those attitudes and thoughts.

My main criticism, apart from the fact that history dictates that we must be left a half century behind contemporary realities, is that though Jones obviously knew and loved the blues and jazz and all the various styles ( if not swing), his approach is coldly academic, highly dispassionate. He may criticize people who tried to make money, he may downplay all those who "abandoned" their roots, but my disappointment is that there is nothing of himself in the work barring a few mentions of his family. He does not share his enthusiasm. Music is beauty after all. I am sure he wanted the book to be taken as a serious essay, which it is. But in keeping himself removed from the discussion, being so analytic and professional in the style of the day, he has robbed us "readers of the future" of many insights.

African-American experience in the USA expressed itself most particularly in the blues, only later did that musical mode become part of the general American culture, often watered down, sometimes imitated by those who didn't wish to fit in or who wished to cash in. When conditions have changed, when the black middle class has entered mainstream America, and the urban underclass is wrapped up in hip-hop, gangsta rap culture, which is relentlessly commercialized by the powerful media, talking about the blues may seem a matter for historians or ethnomusicologists. Still, BLUES PEOPLE resonates strongly if we try to understand where we have been. As for where we are going---that old line sums it up---we're goin where the Southern cross the yella dog.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This was an Awsome book! 19 décembre 2000
Par Mark Twain - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
For someone who didn't like the blues this book made me more appreciate the music and eventualy come to like some of it. This book focuses on the development of the blues and starts with the history of African Americans in the US. This is not a typical history book because it intoduced to me some new ideas that most history books would just ignore. it showed how The african american race dealed with racial issues through their music.
Like i said I didn't like any blues until I read this book. I feel this book has caused me to appreciate music much more.
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