Tricia Rose's groundbreaking Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America applied the instruments of poststructuralist discourse to hip-hop. Here, Ramsey music, Univ. University of California Pr Bolero Ozon. Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop. This powerful book covers the vast and various terrain of African American music, from bebop to hip-hop.
This lays the foundation for a brilliant discussion of how musical meaning emerges in the private and communal realms of lived experience and how African American music has shaped and reflected identities in the black community. Deeply informed by Ramsey's experience as an accomplished musician, a sophisticated cultural theorist, and an enthusiast brought up in the community he discusses, Race Music explores the global influence and popularity of African American music, its social relevance, and key questions regarding its interpretation and criticism.
Hymns were sung more or less as written, but the gentle swing of Mrs. Dicey Perkins's gospel piano put a dash of "jive" in them, as my grandmother used to say. Many of the church's cultural activities surrounded the raising of money. Culture and capital were synonymous.
Rain, shine, winter, or summer, Saturdays comprised a few of us more dedicated kids selling barbecue or barbecue chicken dinners door to door, barbershop to beauty shop, car wash to service station, until the food ran out. Sides of slaw, white Wonder Bread, and spaghetti rounded out each meal.
Chitlins, when they were available, cost more. We were only eight or nine years old, but we prided ourselves on delivering hot. The Sunday Afternoon Program, always held at 3: Tom Thumb Weddings, Baby Contests, Oral Recitations, and Musicals were events that rallied the church community, drawing attendance from spouses, brothers, aunts, and former members whom one rarely saw at the regular worship services.
In the preadolescent days, our choir was known as the Tiny Tots. We would later insist—with more than a hint of exasperation—that our new name was the Sunbeams, apparently with no clue whatsoever that this new rubric did not increase our "hip quotient. When we became preteens and teens, we formed the Youth Choir.
Our repertoire, thanks to the music minister's youngest daughter, a prodigy at singing and piano, was updated with only the latest gospel hits, including the Hawkins Family's "Oh Happy Day. There were many decisions to make, and I relished the role. When should we start rockin'? How many times should we repeat the chorus? Should the soloist sing the verse again? My sense of accomplishment grew with each performance. We rested assured that our performances on second Sundays constituted the centerpiece of the church's musical output, perhaps even of the entire greater South Side of Chicago!
That's how the congregation made us feel, anyway. Thunderous applause and enthusiastic "Amens! Occasionally, somebody would even "get happy," overcome and wringing with emotion until the fan of an alert usher calmed him or her down. This Sunday-morning community theater shifted to another cultural space at 1: Art's Roller Rink, a white-owned and -operated cavern was our teenage hangout. And theater it was.
Art's featured a short, white organist who played funky blues patterns until 5: He had a set tune for each dance, propelling us to daring feats of speed and style. Virtuosity was cherished and pecking orders were established week after week. I dreamed of the day when the most popular female skaters whom I had spied during Ladies Only would agree to couple skate with me, or at least for the day when my heart would stay out of my throat when I asked. Or for the day when I could casually join in with the spontaneous slightly older group of skaters who moved in a unified, synchronized line around the rink.
Their moves were in sync and complex. I could even copy the smug look they wore on their faces—they knew they were jamming. But the risk was too high. If you couldn't fall into step or, God forbid, by accident you made one of them fall or even stumble, you may as well pack up the skates for good that afternoon. Your reputation would be beyond repair. After all, when this group passed by, the other skaters parted like the Red Sea, yielding the right of way to the skilled and "the cool.
Nobody minded, because this theater was really about the ritual, the style, and the high sense of drama and athletic skill every week. I had been asked to audition for the Madrigal singers, a select ensemble that performed madrigals, whatever those were.
After being asked to join, I learned to perform this repertory along with the other standard fare that music educators believed would make us better citizens: Participation in this music literally opened up another world for me: At home, the strong ostinato pattern of songs such as the Ohio Players' "Fire" and Count Basie's version of "April in Paris" hung heavy in the air.
In one space, P. In the other, "Jungle Boogie. As the pianist in the jazz ensemble, I found some kind of middle ground but no respite from trying to negotiate the boundaries of race as I had experienced them as an adolescent musician. Primarily white kids were asked to be in the band, because they were "better prepared. Boundaries, as they played themselves out in my young musical world, became more and more apparent. I chose my route, and this period is known in my family as my "white years.
Life was a never-ending rehearsal. My sister swore in exasperation that if she heard me pound out the chords of Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move under My Feet" one more time, the earth would move, all right, when I was clocked at the piano. She couldn't appreciate that I was perfecting my C minor to F7 chord succession. My very specific interest in modern jazz began in the late s, when I kept fast company with a group of musicians who were either recent graduates or in the process of completing high school.
Two prodigious brothers, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, had launched highly visible careers and seemed to be creating a renewed musical and marketing interest in jazz. Soon, my friends and I found ourselves counted among a growing number of young, African American musicians seriously studying mainstream jazz, although many of us had deep roots in s gospel, soul, funk, and jazz-fusion, as the Marsalis brothers did. In this atmosphere, however, one wore absolute devotion to mainstream jazz like a badge of noble martyrdom: Relentless and self-imposed routines filled the days and nights: The upscale North Side of Chicago also boasted several regular jam sessions with good musicians who played a lot of the same repertory; however, we were drawn to the South Side sessions, because its specific ethos seemed geared toward and welcoming to African American musicians and audiences.
These weekly episodes lasted well into the wee hours of the morning, and their consistent structure, organization, and flow took on ritualistic dimensions. One of these involved the sessions' floating waitress, China Doll, an endearing term that referred to her obvious biracial probably Asian and black background. Without fail, she asked each week what we were drinking that night. Since none of us was old enough to be there legally in the first place, our answers never varied: We had come for the music, anyhow. Freeman's masterful musicianship—incredibly fast bebop runs, timing that pushed ahead of the beat, soulful tone, and original melodic approach—was in itself mind-boggling and inspirational.
Yet despite his consistent ability to leave everybody in the house awestruck at his prowess, distractions were also part of the scene. As patrons entered the dimly lit club, those already seated would survey newcomers with more than passing interest. Of course, one could not easily ignore them, since the door was situated—in typical hole-in-the-wall fashion—directly adjacent to the bandstand. Each new arrival could bring a known musical rival, new competition, or perhaps visiting musicians that had "graduated" from their apprenticeships on our local scene and moved to New York City to really test their mettle.
These musicians usually returned full of stories of how many dues they were paying. As young players we were, of course, very impressed. Not that one had to leave Chicago to pay dues, though. On the occasion of my first jazz gig and that of my steady bassist Lonnie Plaxico, I showed up equipped with a Fender Rhodes electric piano and fake book only to learn that our drummer—an older gentleman who played with a disarming Cheshire cat grin—had fallen out with his girlfriend and that she had disappeared in a huff with her car.
His drums were still in the backseat. Welcome to the "jazz life. We all knew its starting signal: Freeman counting off a moderately fast twelve-bar blues, invariably in the key of F. Although the skill level among the collective "horses" was noticeably uneven on any given night, all seemed to play their hearts out. Some were there for the practice; and still others came looking for the recognition that could—and, for many, did—lead to local and national professional opportunities.
Advice flowed like water at these sessions. As a young pianist, I was often pulled aside and advised on many issues ranging from the necessity of my being able to transpose on the spot for singers, to the virtues of listening to the giants of jazz piano. All of us thrived in this after-hours cultural space, and virtually all of my associates from those years are now professional musicians.
Then I got saved. So broke that I couldn't pay attention and funding my own college education, I began playing at a small Baptist church for something close to thirty-five dollars a Sunday, plus rehearsal. I rode public transportation to church, which took an hour and a half each way.
I learned to play many of the standard hymns that I had heard as a youth but with the Baptist kick. During the annual revival one summer, a sermon from a young, Pentecostal minister who happened also to be in college, convinced me that in order to avoid hell I would have to be saved and baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
Salvation came with impressive fringe benefits. I could also improve my financial status, provided that I develop enough faith. This was the updated, early s, belt-tightening, "Reaganomics era" gospel message. God wanted me prosperous. The excitement generated by the charismatic presence of this sanctified Holiness preacher was awe-inspiring.
My mainline denominational background did not prepare me for the waves of emotion fanned by the delivery and impact of the message. When I was growing up, we whispered, "she's sanctified" behind someone's back with disinterested pity. It was a suitable explanation for why someone who came from a religious family would dress out of date, or otherwise seem a little out of sync with the times. But this prosperous sanctification had enormous appeal to me as a young adult.
Not only could I save my soul, but I could get the house, car, and wife I wanted as well.
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I soon left that church position in search of greener, "more sanctified" pastures and, of course, higher-paying gigs. Again, musical style marked important boundaries. Music in the Holiness churches was decidedly more spirited than I had ever experienced. It possessed a mysterious power. Despite my new outlook and discernment, however, I still had designs on a career as a professional jazz musician, so I continued to frequent the nightclubs where this music was being played, and I enjoyed it.
Weeknights in the nightclubs, Sundays in the church, usually behind a piano or Hammond B-3 organ. My jazz ensemble in college was sounding better. The choir I directed at Second Baptist was starting to "smoke," and life was pretty uncomplicated until my musician friend and pianist Kenny Campbell asked me when I was going to give up the night life and play for God only. I wish he hadn't said that. After debating this issue ad nauseam for a while on the street, we must have decided that I did not fashion a satisfactory response to this curious question.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself visiting his family's church, the St. James Church of God in Christ. I had never heard such a choir. The musicians formed a tight unit of piano, Hammond B-3, and drums. Sixty or so teenagers and young adults sang down the glory of God each week. Sometimes robed, sometimes dressed in standard black and white, the choir rocked, stomped, riffed, and brayed with a brassy verve unmatched on Chicago's West Side. The West Side of Chicago had always earned a reputation unto itself within black Chicago's larger history.
It was rougher, tougher, and very territorial. James sat in the middle of "K-Town," a section of the West Side in which all of the cross streets started with the letter K. James; he had inherited this responsibility following the untimely death of their father, who had founded the church decades earlier. Elder Campbell's nephew manned the B-3; another brother played piano; his wife sang beautifully; one of his sons directed the choir, another played drums and later developed into a nationally known gospel tenor. The Campbell's were one of Chicago's premier "church dynasty families": People were attracted like magnets to them and to the youthful energy of this church.
Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop - Guthrie P. Ramsey - Google Книги
I was no exception. The collective created the social energy of this space, but Elder Campbell was the central persona dramatis. A gifted preacher and singer, he single-handedly taught the choir their three-part harmonies by rote and administrated the church's vision and finances. His reputation grew throughout the country as one of the up and rising, a man to watch. The church's musical repertory comprised a combustible mixture of congregational Pentecostal "church songs," sung prayers, impromptu ditties, compositions for gospel choir in contemporary and traditional styles original and covers , and, of course, Elder Campbell's virtuoso preaching style, which always featured the speech-song "tuning-up" as the climax of the worship service.
A-flat was his tuning-up key signature. This was the preacher's primordial "call. New saints were reassured that God will "give you your shout," which consisted of an individualized dance, but one that nevertheless was defined by established parameters of kinetic and vocal expression.
The musically mediated pacing of the entire service led to such dancing, in fact; it distinguished this type of worship from others. I cannot stress enough the depth of musical talent within cultural spaces such as these. Moreover, the musical styles combined with "the teaching" and other modes of socialization to create community primarily because of the strong sense of tradition and the higher purpose of evangelizing the world.
Although our congregation constituted the lower socioeconomic levels, I gained numerous musical and life skills, and even a life partner, in this situation. I married one of Elder Campbell's altos. But there existed greener, more sanctified pastures to explore. By the time my young family and I discovered the "Full Gospel" ministries of Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church, we were up to our hip boots in the boundary skirmishes and the territorial battles of doctrinocentric contemporary Christendom.
Intense and black Chicago-style. Liberty stressed "teaching" and not the powerful preaching styles of the Church of God in Christ denomination. This church, only three years old when we joined, sought to be different from the surrounding "competition," and that difference was articulated in the realm of black expressive culture.
Musical practice constituted a most notable arena of contrast. Citing instances of "church mess" in choirs, the pastor insisted that there would be no such groups at Liberty. The main musical unit was provided by the Sanctified Band, a variable five- or six-piece rhythm section plus lead singers and backup vocals that prided itself on professionalism, slickness, and most important, being "in the pocket. Funky ministered to "the people. The fervor of the Holiness church was streamlined and repackaged for the youthful congregation, who were weary of "tradition" and "religion.
Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop
We were broadcast on local religious radio and television stations. Our reputation among Chicago churches grew by leaps and bounds, and I believe the phenomenal growth of the membership rolls had to do with the music ministry's singularity. Another feature of musical life at Liberty sought to distance itself from the competition of the surrounding dynamism of gospel music in black Chicago.
Liberty featured "Praise and Worship Music," which can be described in terms of both style and repertory. The style was modeled after that of other white Full Gospel churches: Some of it sounded like placid soft rock. It could not have been more different from what one would typically hear in a black church on Sunday morning.
The repertory itself also came from the white Full Gospel-type churches and was circulated and promoted via videos, cassettes, and CDs through an increasingly sophisticated distribution system patterned on that of secular music. The funky-messianic combination set this ministry apart from many others on Chicago's South Side, and it probably helped to demarcate the boundaries set by its rather cultish insularity. However, as this congregation grew into the thousands, I noticed a shift in our musical habits.
Slowly but surely, the sounds of the traditional black church crept into the congregation. Although the messianic strain of music remained part of the overall repertory, we began to look and sound more like the Afro-Gentiles we really were.
1 Daddy's Second Line
Notwithstanding the distinctive rhetoric of black "musical preaching," it became hard to distinguish us from any other black Holiness church. My grand announcement that I was planning to begin graduate study in musicology had gone over like a lead balloon heading straight to hell but with a five-year layover in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Another boundary to cross. When I began my study of black music as an academic pursuit in graduate school, I learned that jazz was privileged as a carefully selected part of the musical styles that played such an important role in my youth. One might apply the label "jazz-centrism" to this ideal. The "bebop only" attitude that underscored my years as a jazz crusader was in many ways shared by and reflected in the academy's approach.
Boundaries were clearly marked along cultural hierarchies. Jazz, for example, had become "art": Many jazz writers and jazz musicians have generally supported this cultural shift, downplaying or even ignoring important aspects of jazz's social history. As for the other styles of black music, they seemed to cluster around other hierarchical labels such as "folk" and "popular. The specific circumstances of my Chicago-based, working-class, African American background mediated my engagement with "the literature" and provided a healthy dose of skepticism to my studies. Much of my initial work involved an effort to formulate a "theoretical" position based on my empirical experience.
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- Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop by Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr..
But that task proved to be difficult.