Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton

Front Cover
Duke University Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 314 pages
2 Reviews
In Blutopia Graham Lock studies the music and thought of three pioneering twentieth-century musicians: Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton. Providing an alternative to previous analyses of their work, Lock shows how these distinctive artists were each influenced by a common musical and spiritual heritage and participated in self-conscious efforts to create a utopian vision of the future.
A century after Ellington's birth, Lock reassesses his use of music as a form of black history and compares the different approaches of Ra, a band leader who focused on the future and cosmology, and Braxton, a contemporary composer whose work creates itw own elaborate mythology. Arguing that the majority of writing on black music and musicians has-even if inadvertently-incorporated racial stereotypes, he explains how each artist reacted to criticism and sought to break free of categorical confines. Drawing on social history, musicology, biography, cultural theory, and, most of all, statements by the musicians themselves, Lock writes of their influential work.
Blutopia will be a welcome contribution to the literature on twentieth-century African American music and creativity. It will interest students of jazz, American music, African American studies, American culture, and cultural studies.
"Blutopia . . . is a discerning account of the battles over utopia in the jazz world . . . [Lock's] achievement is to take the musicians seriously as theorists in their own right, then to draw them into the meshes of African-American musical and spiritual traditions. . . . Lock's insights however, also whet the reader's appetite for an appraisal of the music itself . . . Future scholars will have to find a language that can develop his blutopian premisses and bring them to a musical conclusion."--Times Literary Supplement, 27 October 2000
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Blutopia: visions of the future and revisions of the past in the work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

More than simply an overview of three remarkable musicians' lives, this stellar example of distinctive scholarship (together with Lock's previous works, Forces in Motion and Chasing the Vibration ... Read full review

Review: Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton

User Review  - Djll - Goodreads

Agreed with others here that this is one of the best theoretical tracts covering jazz (mostly its more outside forms). Linking Ra, Duke, and Brax is a brilliant strategy. And Graham Lock knows his stuff. Not too hard to read, either, unlike some theory books. Read full review

Contents

A Starward
11
Mythic Identity
44
Tone Parallels
75
Renegotiating Her Story
119
Crossroad Axiums
143
Sound Maps of the MetaReal
185
House of Voices Sea of Music
211
Works Cited
285
Index of Compositions and Recordings
305
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Jazz Planet
E. Taylor Atkins
Limited preview - 2003
All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Graham Lock is Special Lecturer in American Music at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, and books, including Forces in Motion: Anthony Braxton and the Meta-reality of Creative Music and Chasing the Vibration: Meetings with Creative Musicians.

Bibliographic information