African American Review

Founded in 1967, the African American Review is a quarterly journal published by St. Louis University, located in St. Louis, Mo. Its subject matter is literature and black publications. Its managing editor is Aileen Keenan.

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 2, Summer

An Afternoon with Dick Griffey: His Philosophy and Thoughts on Business, with Reflections
On July 19, 1994, I was privileged to spend several hours with Dick Griffey in his office, interviewing him, being interviewed by him, sitting in on a presentation with a high-profile client. From the moment Griffey welcomed me into his office, I knew...
Black Music on Radio during the Jazz Age
The first full decade of radio broadcasting in the United States coincided with the fabled "Jazz Age" or "Roaring Twenties," a period of significant cultural upheaval on both sides of the color line. In white America, middle-class "flappers" and "flaming...
"Classical Jazz" and the Black Arts Movement
The period between 1960 and 1970 represents an era of important and extraordinary cultural change in the United States. Longstanding issues of the relationship of ethnic vernacular art to the "mainstream," and that of the American "mainstream" to European...
Culture, Concept, Aesthetics: The Phenomenon of the African Musical Universe in Western Musical Culture
African music has been a resilient but partially unacknowledged force in Western popular music for at least four hundred years. Each century, each decade throws up a new African or African-derived musical influence which perpetuates itself in Western...
Diz
I was into the Orioles, Ruth Brown, Larry Darnell, Louis Jordan, The Ravens - ya know, the late '40s, just going into high school - when my 1st cousin George let me have his older brother Sonny's BeBop collection! I got those old Guilds, Manors, Savoys...
Herman Leonard: Making Music with Light
In the following interview, Herman Leonard speaks about his jazz photography, examples of which appear on pages 222-230. ya Salaam: Not many photographers have been able to capture the feel and texture of jazz as you have. Leonard: I'm glad to hear...
If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Nignt)
"Homophobic lyrics in black music are more powerful than the religious Right is in middle America" (Roulette 42), according to director Isaac Julien, whose films Looking for Langston and Young Soul Rebels have provocatively explored aspects of black...
It Didn't Jes Grew: The Social and Aesthetic Significance of African American Music
Our music is our Mother Tongue, our meta-language that we use for the fullest expression of self. In the preface to Paul Garon's seminal text on surrealism and Black music, Blues & the Poetic Spirit, Franklin Rosemont notes that . . . American black...
Jimi Hendrix Deep within the Blues and Alive Onstage at Woodstock - 25 Years after Death
Since my bio on Jimi Hendrix was published 15 years ago, I would suppose by now that there is no danger in my becoming a "rock critic," a designation I could never figure out, especially for an African-American writer. My bio, originally titled Jimi...
Million-Dollar Juke Joint: Commodifying Blues Culture
Like a lot of thirty-something white folks, I had my first musical crush on rock and roll. After wearing out my Beatles and Stones records, along with my parents, I cranked up Cream and Hendrix until my cheapo record player nearly melted. In high school...
Mohawk
for goat carson let us not read too much into the titles of this session, june 6, 1950, bird & dizzy & monk with curley russell on bass & buddy rich so out of place on drums, if max roach had been on hand to make this band hit with a different...
Parody and Double Consciousness in the Language of Early Black Musical Theatre
The early decades of the twentieth century were, in many respects, the beginning of the period of black aesthetic and intellectual reconstruction. Alain Locke identifies the era as "a sudden flood-tide of new life and vitality" in African American music,...
Sun Ra
I passed through Ra's orbit when they 1st arrived from Chicago into the Loisaida (pre Latino street signs), early '60s. They swept in, with tales and a frantic grapevine of every which observation. The Weirdness, Outness, Way Outness, Otherness was...
The Aesthetics of Rap
After reading many articles supposedly concerning rap music - about the social aspects of rap music, the criminal elements in rap music, the lawsuits caused by rap music, sampling in rap music, gossip concerning rap musicians, how other musicians feel...
The Beauty of Building, Dwelling and Monk: Aesthetics, Religion and the Architectural Qualities of Jazz
We don't go on stage with one person trying to put a will on the music. We prime ourselves to follow the will of the music. See, when you play a music, all you do is to prepare yourselves to accept the spirit. Like, when you practiced your instrument...
The Black Arts Movement and Hip-Hop
The past decade and a half has witnessed the emergence of the most recent "seed" in the continuum of Afrikan-American culture,(1) rap music. Hip-hop music and culture have caused volumes of controversy and forged their way into a marginal position alongside...
The Changing Nature of Gospel Music: A Southern Case Study
African American gospel music forms an important part of the community's aesthetic expression and is a synthesis of music, dance, poetry, and drama distilled into a unified whole. Gospel music also represents a strong link to African roots in both subtle...
The Heritage of the Drumset
The drumset is a 20th-century American instrument whose historical development has largely been the result of African American creativity. It stands today as one of the most widely played, recognized, and powerful instruments used on the global stage....
The Wisdom of the Blues - Defining Blues as the True Facts of Life: An Interview with Willie Dixon
In this narrative from an interview, poet-philosopher Willie Dixon (1915-1992) gives autobiographical insight on African American secular and sacred music traditions. His observations on issues of segregation, the industrialization of community musical...
The Yoruba Orisha Tradition Comes to New York City
The work of Katherine Dunham, Zora Neale Hurston, and Pearl Primus - building on the research of Melville Herskovits and W. E. B. Du Bois - introduced an intellectual perspective of the African Diaspora into the arts. These artists worked studiously...
Traning the Nineties, or the Present Relevance of John Coltrane's Music of Theophany and Negation
Can it be merely accidental that recent works by such otherwise dissimilar film makers as Spike Lee and Oliver Stone feature striking allusions to - and, indeed, appropriations of - the music of John Coltrane? The burden of this essay is to demonstrate...
What Makes "Jazz" the Revolutionary Music of the 20th Century, and Will It Be Revolutionary for the 21st Century?
I do not use the term "jazz," as I do not use such terms as Negro, Oriental, or Hispanic. Oppressed peoples suffer when their history, identity, and culture are defined, (mis)represented, and explicated by our oppressors. The struggle to redefine and...