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Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

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For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encounte For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encountered. As in his earlier classics, Blues People and Black Music, Baraka offers essays on the famous—Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane—and on those whose names are known mainly by jazz aficionados—Alan Shorter, Jon Jang, and Malachi Thompson. Baraka's literary style, with its deep roots in poetry, makes palpable his love and respect for his jazz musician friends. His energy and enthusiasm show us again how much Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and the others he lovingly considers mattered. He brings home to us how music itself matters, and how musicians carry and extend that knowledge from generation to generation, providing us, their listeners, with a sense of meaning and belonging.


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For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encounte For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encountered. As in his earlier classics, Blues People and Black Music, Baraka offers essays on the famous—Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane—and on those whose names are known mainly by jazz aficionados—Alan Shorter, Jon Jang, and Malachi Thompson. Baraka's literary style, with its deep roots in poetry, makes palpable his love and respect for his jazz musician friends. His energy and enthusiasm show us again how much Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and the others he lovingly considers mattered. He brings home to us how music itself matters, and how musicians carry and extend that knowledge from generation to generation, providing us, their listeners, with a sense of meaning and belonging.

49 review for Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Monte

    amiri baraka transcends his own genre. while a lot of this book is repetitious (collected essays from the last few decades, covering a lot of the same terrain) each on its own is a whirlwind of information and ferocious love for the music... and he, like a good jersey bloke, even shells out the love for springsteen, which gladdens the heart of this jersey boy too - but where he really shines is in his analysis of miles davis, thelonious monk, art tatum, and the mid-century genuises that he knew amiri baraka transcends his own genre. while a lot of this book is repetitious (collected essays from the last few decades, covering a lot of the same terrain) each on its own is a whirlwind of information and ferocious love for the music... and he, like a good jersey bloke, even shells out the love for springsteen, which gladdens the heart of this jersey boy too - but where he really shines is in his analysis of miles davis, thelonious monk, art tatum, and the mid-century genuises that he knew first hand, and of course when he supports his various theses with poetry pulled from his own work... amiri baraka is 75 years old now and i hope he stays for a while longer before splitting to join the ancestors...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hava Carvajal

    loved his book when i was 18! turns out he's a massive antisemite! we contain multitudes! loved his book when i was 18! turns out he's a massive antisemite! we contain multitudes!

  3. 5 out of 5

    5 Track

    Could be read (I am reading it as) a follow-up to Baraka's excellent "Black Music" from 1968, a collection of essays, articles, & liner notes, some of the very best writing on 'jazz'. ("Most jazz critics have been white Americans, but most important jazz musicians have not been.") "Digging" includes some amazing writing on Nina Simone, Thelonious Sphere Monk, Albert Ayler, many others. There's even a short piece on Bruce Springsteen (which is more like a follow-up to Baraka's "Blues People" from Could be read (I am reading it as) a follow-up to Baraka's excellent "Black Music" from 1968, a collection of essays, articles, & liner notes, some of the very best writing on 'jazz'. ("Most jazz critics have been white Americans, but most important jazz musicians have not been.") "Digging" includes some amazing writing on Nina Simone, Thelonious Sphere Monk, Albert Ayler, many others. There's even a short piece on Bruce Springsteen (which is more like a follow-up to Baraka's "Blues People" from 1963). More than any particular genre, tho, "Digging" is about the music & about the musicians who love the music. & also, come to think about it, about a way of talking about the music. It's about the music.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shila

    The title definitely describes the context of the book! I find most writings by this author to be intriguing and well-written. He has an attractive perspective.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amina Shafi

    Still reading and I love it. My favorite essay thus far has been on Nina Simone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Osorio

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Castillo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  10. 5 out of 5

    Evan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hans Ostrom

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ami Vuorinen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Hassinger

  14. 5 out of 5

    Renee LeeHim

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chad

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roger Mckenzie

  17. 5 out of 5

    MarieM

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arnoldo Garcia

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wuttipol

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bonita

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Allison

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reginald

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott Woods

  27. 5 out of 5

    Duster Johnson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

  29. 5 out of 5

    abcdefg

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kellea

  31. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  32. 4 out of 5

    Darryl

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sara-Maria Sorentino

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ariya

  35. 4 out of 5

    Terrence

  36. 5 out of 5

    Manda

  37. 5 out of 5

    Kyra

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  39. 5 out of 5

    ColumbusReads

  40. 5 out of 5

    Michael Strode

  41. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Farrell

  42. 4 out of 5

    Dom

  43. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

  44. 5 out of 5

    Read In Colour

  45. 4 out of 5

    Hector

  46. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  47. 4 out of 5

    Natalie S.

  48. 5 out of 5

    Dani Hermawan

  49. 4 out of 5

    Mary Leigh

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