Don't Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition

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University of Michigan Press, 2008 - Music - 224 pages
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Black musical forms profoundly influenced the work of American poet and leading literary figure Lorenzo Thomas, and he wrote about them with keen insight---and obvious pleasure. This book, begun by Thomas before his death in 2005, collects more than a dozen of his savvy yet engagingly personal essays that probe the links between African American music, literature, and popular culture, from the Harlem Renaissance to the present.

Don't Deny My Name (which takes its title from a blues song by Jelly Roll Morton) begins by laying out the case that the blues is a body of literature that captured the experience of African American migrants to the urban North and newer territories to the West. The essays that follow collectively provide a tour of the movement through classic jazz, bop, and the explosions of the free jazz era, followed by a section on R&B and soul. The penultimate essay is a meditation on rap music that attempts to bring together the extremes of emotion that hip hop elicits, and the collection ends with an unfinished preface to the volume.

  

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Contents

Introduction by Aldon Lynn Nielsen
1
Authenticity and Elevation
20
Pass the Biscuits Please
33
Goin to Kansas City
64
Evolution of the Bop Aesthetic
87
Communicating by Horns
105
Rhythm and Blues au service de la Revolution
137
New and Old Gospel
152
How You Like Me Now?
176
Dont Deny My Introduction
193
Index
213
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Lorenzo Thomas, who was born in Panama and grew up in New York city, is a poet, critic and professor of English at the University of Houston. His book of poetry include Chances Aze Few, The Bathers and Sound Science. He is the recipient of two. Poets Foundation awards and the Lucille Medwick Prize.

Aldon Lynn Nielsen is a professor of English at San Jose State University.

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