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Gerald Early

Stanley Crouch was born in Los Angeles. His father was a heroin addict and his mother a hard-working domestic who taught him to read before he entered school. Although Crouch attended both East Los Angeles Junior College and Southwest Junior College, he never earned a degree. In effect, he is an autodidact and his work reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the untrained intellectual. During the 1960s, Crouch became enamored of black nationalism and the theater. He was well known in black nationalist circles and was an actor, director, and playwright. He also was a drummer leading his own jazz combo during these days, recording an album with Impulse Records called Ain't No Ambulances for No Niggahs Tonight. In the 1970s, Crouch, deeply influenced by the works of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, began to distance himself from the black nationalists. In 1975 he moved to New ...

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Michelle Habell-Pallán

Florida-born Nathaniel Mackey was raised in California, graduated from Princeton University with high honors, and earned a PhD in English and American literature in 1975. From 1976 to 1979 he was director of Black studies at the University of Southern California and assistant professor in both the English department and the ethnic studies program. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1979, where he is a professor of American literature.

Evidence of the Black diaspora echoes throughout his writings His poetry prose and essays situate African American poetry in diverse poetic and cultural traditions North American African Caribbean and to some extent Latin American He argues that these poetic traditions reciprocally influence each other The formal experimentation in his writing disrupts any notion that either African American poetry or poetry produced by either white or non white Americans is created in an ahistorical ...

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Barry Kernfeld

(b New Orleans, Oct 18, 1961). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educationist, brother of Branford Marsalis. From an early age he studied both jazz and classical music. When he was 14 he performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans PO and while a student at the Juilliard School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1980). He toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams and recorded his first album as leader (1981), then in early 1982 left Blakey to form a quintet (1982–5) with his brother Branford; he also toured with Hancock in 1983 as a member of the quintet V.S.O.P. II. In 1984 he became the first musician to win Grammy awards for both a jazz recording and a classical recording. Marsalis completed his first large-scale suite, Soul Gestures in Southern Blues ...

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James Sellman

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is the leading figure in contemporary Jazz. He burst onto the jazz scene as part of Art Blakey's 1980 edition of the Jazz Messengers. More than an inventive and talented musician, Marsalis has become the de facto spokesman for the neoclassical movement in jazz that emerged in the early 1980s, drawing inspiration from acoustic jazz styles that antedate the free jazz and jazz-rock of the late 1960s and 1970s. He has also worked effectively as a jazz educator, particularly for his four-part Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series Marsalis on Music, which won a Peabody Award in 1996.

Besides achieving acclaim as a musician, Marsalis emerged in the 1980s as an outspoken and controversial figure in America's ongoing dialogue on race and culture. His ideas on jazz and African American culture are indebted to the thinking of Albert Murray and Murray's intellectual disciple, Stanley ...

Article

Michael Collins

Alfred B. Spellman has cut a wide swath in the world of the arts as a music critic, poet, administrator, and educator. “It's a function of social consciousness,” he said in a 1992 interview (Dance/USA Journal, Winter 1992), “to provide art, strong art.” The creation, identification, and support of “strong art” have been the alternating currents of Spellman's career, whose highlights include the publication of his book of poems, The Beautiful Days, in 1965, the appearance of his classic Black Music: Four Lives (as Four Lives in the BeBop Business) in 1966, and his two decades of service at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

One of two sons of the schoolteachers Alfred and Rosa Bailey Spellman, Alfred B. Spellman was born 12 August 1935 in his grandmother s house in Nixonton a hamlet outside Elizabeth City North Carolina Perhaps ...

Article

Jennifer H. Poulos

Lorenzo Thomas emerged from the Black Arts movement as one of the most prolific poets of the 1970s. Though best–known for his poetry, he also actively promotes the understanding and appreciation of all African American cultural forms, particularly music. Born in Panama to Herbert Hamilton Thomas and Luzmilda Gilling Thomas, Thomas immigrated to New York in 1948. As a native Spanish speaker, Thomas traces his interest in literature to his struggle to learn English in order to fit in with his schoolmates. While attending Queens College in the 1960s, Thomas joined the Umbra workshop, one of several experimental literary groups from which the Black Arts movement grew. Here, Thomas developed a poetic style marked by a wariness of the media and mass culture, pride in the African heritage and history, and a strong sense of political engagement. While Thomas also works powerfully in the lyric mode such ...