Blues, Up and Down: From the Mississippi Mud to the Avant-Garde. Olu Dara performs at the Studio Museum in Harlem, April 24, 2007.
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William Lowe interviews Olu Dara at the Studio Museum in Harlem, April 24, 2007.
Singer/composer Sathima Bea Benjamin grew up in Cape Town watching movies and listening to jazz records from America. Rejecting a life under apartheid, her career took her to New York, where she now lives. In conversation with Gwen Ansell, Ms. Benjamin discusses, with sung and recorded illustrations, the emotions and debates American music stirred among Cape Town's jazz players and singers, and how America responded to the African contribution to jazz and world culture. Ms. Benjamin is accompanied by Onaje Allan Gumbs, piano.
Saxophonist Roy Nathanson talks about his experiences as a Columbia student during the unrest at the University and the militant aftermath during the late 1960s, his development as an artist in an astonishing variety of forms (including composition, songwriting, poetry, acting and teaching) his work with global stars and with high school students, and his basic need to "tell a story" no matter what artistic language he uses. Click here for Part II.
Vocalist Jeanne Lee took a multidisciplinary approach to improvisation that incorporated dance and visual media and produced remarkable innovations in vocal sound. She remained relatively obscure throughout her 40-year professional career, Porter argues, because of her iconoclastic performance art, and because of her status as a woman, working mother, and black person. He explores the challenges to assumptions about nation, gender, and race in Lee's work, particularly in her performance of her poem "In These Last Days."
In Ann-Marie MacDonald's novel Fall On Your Knees, women improvisers (including a fictitious character based on Bessie Smith) use their music to transcend both conventional musical practices and gender roles. In Sidall's reading of MacDonald's book, Smith is a viable role model in life as much in fiction, since she "signif[ies] that kind of freedom to imagine, and even create, new communities."
The full text of a pathbreaking early book on jazz.