Tag: jazz

Illumination, An Internet Interview with Greg Thomas: On Culture and Canons, On Jazz and Being an African-American Male

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall in Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Louisiana State University Press, 1995), William Pollitzer in The Gullah People and Their African Heritage (University of Georgia Press, 1999), and editor Jacob Gordon with The African Presence in Black America (Africa World Press, 2004)—have focused on African cultural habits and values that long survived in America; and, as much has been written regarding the lives, artistry, and politics of the descendants in America of enslaved Africans and free blacks, that is of African-Americans, many of whom had and have complexions more diverse than the word black would indicate, most of what is written now about African-Americans is little more than a footnote: and those who add something comprehensive or new to public knowledge must be commended. Greg Thomas’s essay on canonization in jazz and literature respects both aesthetics and the context in which art is created and valued; and the essay is a fine piece of critical commentary, clear, reasoned, sure; and it identifies Marsalis and Gates as cultural heroes—not simply in light of their good intentions but in light of their genuine achievements…

A Master of Music, Math, and Chess: Anthony Braxton’s Duets and Three Compositions of New Jazz

I haven’t listened to jazz in the last several years as much as I used to, as I have been impatient to hear direct and explicit thoughts, though there’s an expansive feel to jazz that I miss: and Anthony Braxton, devoted to music, mathematics, and chess, is a legendary and legendarily complex figure, and he has been the subject of various critical studies, including Forces in Motion: The Music and Thoughts of Anthony Braxton by Graham Lock (Da Capo, 1988) and The Music of Anthony Braxton by Mike Heffley (Greenwood Publishing, 1996).