Amiri Baraka's "Blues People" at Fifty : Robert O'Meally


Robert O’Meally discusses his contact with Baraka as a student and his subsequent engagement with his writings. O’Meally focuses on Baraka’s liner notes to jazz LP albums, arguing that they too are an important and distinctive form of jazz writing. He discusses the notes to, and music within, 1960s albums by soul jazz tenor saxophonists like Willis “Gatortail” Jackson and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. Baraka’s liner notes argue that these jazz stars’ shouting style and audience engagement, sometimes deplored as mere entertainment, was actually part of an African-American thread of community bonding.

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