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Bold and original, The Power of Black Music offers a new way of listening to the music of black America, and appreciating its profound contribution to all American music. Striving to break down the barriers that remain between high art and low art, it brilliantly illuminates the centuries-old linkage between the music, myths, and rituals of Africa and the continuing evolution and enduring vitality of African-American music. Inspired by the pioneering work of Sterling Stuckey and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., advocates a new critical approach grounded in the forms and traditions of the music itself. He accompanies readers on a fascinating journey from the African ring, through the ring shouts powerful merging of music and dance in the slave culture, to the funeral parade practices of the early New Orleans jazzmen, the bluesmen in the twenties, the beboppers in the forties, and the free jazz, rock, Motown, and concert hall composers of the sixties and beyond. Floyd dismisses the assumption that Africans brought to the United States as slaves took the music of whites in the New World and transformed it through their own performance practices. Instead, he recognizes European influences, while demonstrating how much black music has continued to share with its African counterparts. Floyd maintains that while African Americans may not have direct knowledge of African traditions and myths, they can intuitively recognize links to an authentic African cultural memory.
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