Review—Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties

Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't calls for examination of specific musical texts and for situating the artistic practices that they represent in a larger social and cultural milieu. With a particular focus on hard bop (including the more radical experiments under that rubric of Coltrane and Mingus), author Scott Saul explores the music's historical formation and the overlapping imperatives of larger social, cultural, and political struggles: "I consider hard bop to be a musical facet of the freedom movement." Saul's work draws its name from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and refers to a sermon delivered by a preacher that uses the rhetorical ideas of "black is" and "black ain't" to problematize assumptions about racial identity.

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1950s, 1960s, African American collectives, Amiri Baraka, artistic collectives, Charles Mingus, community, hard bop, identity, jazz criticism, jazz history, jazz political aspects, jazz social aspects, John Coltrane, LeRoi Jones, race, self-determination