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music



  • The 70s are Back, But Not How You Think

    by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff

    "In the coronavirus era, disco themes resonate. People long for community and wonder if leaders have our backs. Social media offers some of the trappings that defined disco — from the clothes to the allure of being seen in a new way."



  • Phil Schaap, Grammy-Winning Jazz D.J. and Historian, Dies at 70

    “They say I’m a history teacher,” he said in a video interview for the National Endowment for the Arts, which this year named him a Jazz Master, the country’s highest official honor for a living jazz figure, but he viewed his role differently. “I teach listening.” 



  • When Europe Gave its Ears to Black American Composers

    by Kira Thurman

    In the wake of World War II many Black American classical composers found welcoming audiences in Europe, but their experiences should not overshadow the ways European cultural institutions have marginalized domestic Black artists.



  • Charlie Watts Put Some Jazz in Rock and Roll

    by Victor Coelho

    "In an era when rock drummers were larger-than-life showmen with big kits and egos to match, Charlie Watts remained the quiet man behind a modest drum set. But Watts wasn’t your typical rock drummer."



  • Reassessing Gladys Knight's Talent and Impact

    "The scholar Mark Anthony Neal has written that Knight was “the female voice of the Black working class in the 1970s”—more grounded than either the divine Aretha Franklin or the glamorous Diana Ross—and the group’s sensibilities were also working-class."



  • Daphne Brooks on Truth-Telling Music

    African American Studies scholar Daphne Brooks tells the back stories of Black women in music and the cultural impact of their songs. 


  • "Juke": Bluesman Bobby Rush on the Roots of Rock and Roll

    by Bobby Rush with Herb Powell

    Blues musician Bobby Rush's new autobiography chronicles his life and career, and the way that the appropriation of Black music into American popular culture often left Black entertainers behind. Read here how he remembers the roots of rock and roll. 


  • Reverberations of the Photography of Jazz

    by Jeffrey Mifflin

    The photographs of William Gottlieb and other observers of jazz's golden age deserve more attention for capturing and creating the aesthetics of the music. 



  • The Radical Politics of Nina Simone

    by Chardine Taylor-Stone

    "On the anniversary of her death, we can look at how the story of Simone’s political life is told, and who is telling it; at what they choose to include, and what they do in fact ‘erase’."



  • Sounds of Freedom: The Music of Black Liberation

    Shana Redmond and Rickey Vincent discuss their research, which deals with the ways that musical expression has been integrated into the politics of Black freedom in different moments (and different musical styles, including the Black Panther Party's own funk band). 



  • In ‘Genius: Aretha,’ Respecting the Mind, Not Just the Soul

    "The full scale of Franklin’s contributions to her own music has long been obscured. She was a gifted songwriter and a superb pianist. In the studio, she was a taskmaster, pushing herself and her collaborators until they captured the exact sound she heard in her head — not easy for a Black female musician of her time."



  • The Baddest Man in Town

    by Eric McHenry

    Writer Eric McHenry recounts picking up the documentary trail (started in the 1970s by John Russell David) of the notorious "Stagger Lee" Shelton, whose reign of terror in early 20th century St. Louis became immortalized in song and legend.



  • How Black Women Musicians Defined What We Call Culture

    Daphne Brooks's new book "Liner Notes for the Revolution" examines the ways that Black women as creators, critics and consumers of popular music have advanced a political vision of transforming society.