Songs of the Unsung: The Musical and Social Journey of Horace Tapscott

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Duke University Press, Feb 19, 2001 - Music - 271 pages
Despite his importance and influence, jazz musician, educator, and community leader Horace Tapscott remains relatively unknown to most Americans. In Songs of the Unsung Tapscott shares his life story, recalling his childhood in Houston, moving with his family to Los Angeles in 1943, learning music, and his early professional career. He describes forming the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra in 1961 and later the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension to preserve African American music and serve the community. Tapscott also recounts his interactions with the Black Panthers and law enforcement, the Watts riots, his work in Hollywood movie studios, and stories about his famous musician-activist friends. Songs of the Unsung is the captivating story of one of America’s most unassuming heroes as well as the story of L.A.'s cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century.

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Songs of the unsung: the musical and social journey of Horace Tapscott

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Based on interviews from 1993, 1997, and 1998, this title chronicles the life and work of avant-garde jazz pianist, trombonist, and composer Tapscott (1934-99). Although not well known outside of the ... Read full review


1 Early Years in Houston
2 California
3 Setting the Pace
4 Central Avenue
5 Military Service
6 On the Road with Lionel Hampton
7 To Preserve and Develop Black Culture
8 The Fire This Time
11 The Union of Gods Musicians and Artists Ascension
12 Settling into the Community
13 Movements to the Present
14 Reflections and Directions
From the Funeral Service
A Partial List of UGMAA Artists 19611998
Horace Tapscott
Music from the Ark

9 In the Middle of It
10 Stayin Alive

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About the author (2001)

Horace Tapscott (1934–1999) was a jazz pianist, trombonist, composer, educator, and community leader in Los Angeles. Appearing on dozens of albums as a leader or a sideman, Tapscott performed with the U.S. Air Force band and Lionel Hampton's big band, led the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, and taught and mentored hundreds of Los Angeles youths.

Steven Isoardi is the author of The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles and coeditor of Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles.