Jazz and Race Reader

Here’s a very thoughtful post from Ethan Iverson in response to my post a couple of days ago.  The more I think about it, Ethan should edit the Jazz and Race Reader with another musician of his vintage, say Orrin Evans (his name comes to mind because, if I remember correctly, he and Ethan once played duo piano gigs together and he’s been outspoken recently about race in jazz, too, and I like his and Tarbaby’s music as I like Ethan’s and TBP’s).  A thorough book like Ethan suggests could become an instant classic, with new editions that people reach for forty years later.  They could tour a show behind it, blending music and talk.  Sparks could fly, in a productive way.  It would help immensely for a visionary patron to step forward and help buy the time to get this done, and there’d need to be a publisher with enough patience and passion to work through the onslaughts of permissions required to assemble this kind of compendium.

*Update:  I spent a couple of hours today reading some of the links on this debate provided by A Blog Supreme.  It’s important for me to stress that I still haven’t read Sandke’s book.  But after catching up a little bit on this furor, I have a couple more thoughts:  1) I believe Sandke’s main point has validity.  2)  I also believe that Southern black church music is underserved in the jazz annals; in other words, white liberal critics and historians who might have bent over backwards to emphasize the black background of jazz actually didn’t go far enough in a key sense.  3) (I’m just throwing this in for kicks):  The Piedmont Blues as a basis for jazz is underserved in the annals, and this influence includes a lot of black musicians, of course (Thelonious Monk’s father played harp in the rail yards of Rocky Mount, NC), but it also includes some white hillbilly types who swung their asses off on some strings.

This is complicated stuff.

-S.S.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Simmons Said,

    February 8, 2011 @ 8:12 am

    You hit 2 good notes, Sam. I just wrote something about Mavis Staples, pointing out that rock historians always credit blues but forget gospel. As you say, Piedmont blues is likewise “underserved.” Given its advanced melodicism compared to Delta blues, this connection would seem obvious.