Part 2 of our Black History Month series continues today with readings about jazz in America. Two of our books focus on the lives and careers of influential African American jazz musicians Billy Taylor and David Baker.In his forthcoming autobiography The Jazz Life of Dr. Billy Taylor (written with Teresa L. Reed), the legendary jazz ambassador discusses his 60+ years in music, from the heyday of jazz on 52nd Street in 1940s New York City to his appearances on CBS Sunday Morning. Taylor fought not only for the recognition of jazz music as "America's classical music" but also for the recognition of black musicians as key contributors to the American music repertoire. In this excerpt, Taylor discusses segregation and his early musical influences.
Like Taylor, David Baker's musical career was also influenced by segregation. He attended Crispus Attucks High School, an all-black school in Indianapolis, IN, with an excellent music program, to which he attributes much of his success. In this excerpt from David Baker: A Legacy in Music, Lissa May discusses the impact of the Indianapolis music scene and Baker's high school on his musical career.
In addition to these two profiles of prominent African American jazz musicians, another one of our books looks at a small town record studio with a big place in jazz history. Gennett Records in Richmond, IN, was the site of many historic firsts for African American jazz musicians, including the first interracial recording with Jelly Roll Morton and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and Louis Armstrong's first recording with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. Author Rick Kennedy traces the colorful history of one of America's most innovative record companies in his newly revised and expanded edition of Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy.
Our Black History Month series concludes tomorrow with reading selections from our African American and African studies journals.