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- Publisher: WILLIAM MORROW
- Format: Paperback | 256 pages
- Dimensions: 135mm x 208mm x 23mm | 340g
- Publication date: 24 June 1999
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 068818474X
- ISBN 13: 9780688184742
- Edition: 1, New edition
- Edition statement: New edition
- Sales rank: 134,684
From the music of African slaves in the States, through the music scene of the 1960s, 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 values.
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""Blues People "is not only a fresh, incisively instructive reinterpretation of Negro music in America, but it is also curcially relevant to Negro-White relationships today."--Nat Hentoff""Blues People "is American musical history; it is also American cultural, economic, and even emotional history. It traces not only the development of the Negro music which affected white America, but also the Negro values which affected white America."--"Library Journal"
This is as much a tracing and interpretation of the Negro experience in America as it is a history of Negro music as it has developed and ranged from that experience. LeRoi Jones describes and defines the music that Negroes have produced or ??evolved from the time they came, Africans to America, as captives, through the period when they became Americans, taking on the values of the predominant cultures, thinking of themselves in relation to it rather than to the past of another continent's life, to the increasing identification with the American middle class, and - in the sixties - a growing alienation from the vapidity of main stream American culture, which has its stark overtones. Thus the author raises hard questions and gives hard answers as he traces the route Negro music has taken from pre-Emancipation functional songs on to the "primitive" blues, ("the beginning of blues (was) one beginning of the American Negroes"), ironic blackface minstrelsy, classic blues, boogie woogie, swing, bebop, jazz "cool" to "third stream". He sees a continuous re-emergence of strong Negro influences to revitalize American popular music, "a deliberately changing, constantly self-refining folk expression" that has extended its influence until it affects the total popular-art American experience. The actual music itself is analyzed in this light. An interesting if at times diffusely presented thesis with musicological and social pertinence. (Kirkus Reviews)