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Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

by Gerald Horne Monthly Review Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 512 pages
AU$195.00 NZ$201.74
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A galvanizing history of how jazz and  jazz musicians flourished despite rampant cultural exploitation 
The music we call “jazz” arose in late nineteenth century North America—most likely in New Orleans—based on the musical traditions of Africans, newly freed from slavery. Grounded in the music known as the “blues,” which expressed the pain, sufferings, and hopes of Black folk then pulverized by Jim Crow, this new music entered the world via the instruments that had been abandoned by departing military bands after the Civil War. Jazz and Justice examines the economic, social, and political forces that shaped this music into a phenomenal US—and Black American—contribution to global arts and culture.
Horne assembles a galvanic story depicting what may have been the era’s most virulent economic—and racist—exploitation, as jazz musicians battled organized crime, the Ku Klux Klan, and other variously malignant forces dominating the nightclub scene where jazz became known. Horne pays particular attention to women artists, such as pianist Mary Lou Williams and trombonist Melba Liston, and limns the contributions of musicians with Native American roots. This is the story of a beautiful lotus, growing from the filth of the crassest form of human immiseration.
“[A]n exhaustive examination of archives, oral history interviews, autobiographies, and secondary literature that presents a devastating picture of what has been termed ‘cockroach capitalism’—the jazz business that ruthlessly exploits and degrades [not just] African American musicians.”-Douglas Daniels,author of Lester Leaps In: The Life and Times of Lester GÇ£Presn++? Young

is Moores Professor of History and African American Studies at the
University of Houston, and 
has published
three dozen books including
, The
Counter-Revolution of 1776:  Slave
Resistance and the Origins of the USA
and Race War!  White Supremacy and
the Japanese Attack on the British Empire