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'Fables of Faubus': Jazz and Politics


Week 10 ‘Fables of Faubus’: Jazz and Politics


What does Hobsbawm suggest is the relationship between jazz and politics?

What was the role of jazz in the Black Freedom Struggle?

Is jazz a black music form?

What was distinctive about John Coltrane’s sound, and can he be seen as a political artist?

What was Charles Mingus’ approach to politics?

What was the relationship between free jazz and black power?



Core Reading

Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Jazz as a Protest’, The Jazz Scene, (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989 edn.), Ch.14, pp.252-269. **

Ingrid Monson, ‘Activism and Fund Raising from Birmingham to Black Power’ in Freedom sounds: civil rights call out to jazz and Africa. (OUP, 2010) pp.199-237. **

Charles Hersch, "Let Freedom Ring!": Free Jazz and African-American Politics', Cultural Critique, No. 32 (Winter, 1995-1996), pp. 97-123

Further Reading

 Leroi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Blues People (1963)

Philip V. Bohlman and Ronald Radano, Music and the Racial Imagination (2001) Leonard L. Brown (ed.), John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music (2010)

Burke, Come in and Hear the Truth: Jazz and Race on 52nd Street

Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli, Free Jazz/Black Power (Uni of Mississipi Press, 2015. Repr of 1971 book) See a review of this reprint by Ian Pattison, All About Jazz, 27 Dec 2015

Chris Devito, Coltrane on Coltrane: The John Coltrane Interviews (Chicago Press Review, 2010)

Dwight Dickerson, ‘Jazz in Los Angeles: The Black Experience’, Black Music Research Journal, 31, 1, Spring 2011, 179-192

Charley Gerard, Jazz in Black and White; Race, Culture, and Identity in the Jazz Community (1998)

Bruce Johnson and Pedro Cravinho (ed), Jazz and Totalitarianism (Abingdon, Routledge, 2016)

Ashley Kahn, A Love Supreme; The Creation of John Coltrane’s classic album (Granta, 2002)

Robin D.G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (2002)

Robin D.G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (2010)

Robin D.G. Kelley, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (2012)

Desmond King, ‘”The World’s against me as a Black Man”: Charles Mingus and Segregated America, Jnl of Historical Sociology, 13, 1 (March 2000)

Frank Kofsky, Black Nationalism and the revolution in music (1970)

Frank Kofsky, Black Music, White Business: Illuminating the Political Economy of Jazz (1998)

Frank Kofsky, John Coltrane and the jazz revolution of the 1960's (NY, Pathfinder, 1998)

Gene Lees, Cats of any Color (1994)

Lawrence Levine, Black Culture and Black Consciousness (1977)

Normal Mailer, ‘The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster’ (1957). Originally Dissent, but republished in Advertisements for Myself (1959)

Mingus, Beneath the Underdog

Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His life and music (UPM, 1999)

Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (Faber, 2007)

Randall Sandke, Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics, and Business of Jazz (2010)

Santoro, Myself when I am real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus

Ben Sidran, Black Talk (1981)

Richard M. Sudhalter, Lost Chords : White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945 (2001)

Tony Whyton, Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album (OUP, 2013)