Bigotry and the Afrocentric "Jazz" Evolution

Third Edition

By Karlton E. Hester

Subjects: Music, African American Studies, History
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781586842284, 574 pages, June 2012

Table of contents

Prologue – An Introduction to Afrocentric Music
Afrocentric Origins of “Jazz”
Eurocentric Documentation and Control of African-American Music
The Impact of Racism and Sexism
I. Traditional African Music
Formulating an Approach to Understanding African Music
Africa Before the European Slave Trade
Early African Contact with Europe
Women, Music, and Religion in Africa
Stylistic Regions of African Music
            Northern Africa
            Ancient Egyptian music
            Ancient Nubian written music
            Moroccan music
            North African women musicians
Stylistic Regions of Sub-Saharan African Music
            II. East Cattle Area
            III. Congo Area
            Central African Republic
            Republic of the Congo
            The Pygmy
            IV. Guinea Coast Area
            V. Khoisan Area
            VI. Sudan
            Northern Sudan
            Western Sudan
The Function of African Music in African Culture
An Overview of Musical Style
Characteristics of African Music
            Musical Instruments
            Structures of African Rhythms
            Classes of African Musicians
European Methods of Examining African Culture
A Survey of African Kingdoms
            Kush (Nubia)
            Ancient Ghana
            Mali (not the Republic of Mali)
II. The Sociocultural Context in Which African-American Music Emerged
The Natives of America
Africans’ Limited Access to Musical Instruments and Performance Venues in America
Slave Era Music and Cultural Cross-Fertilization
African-American Music Convergence Affected by Sex and Marriage
Sociocultural Influences on Seventeenth Century African-American Music
Eighteenth-Century Sociocultural Changes
Witch Craze
III. Traditional African-American Music

Music Evolves During the Struggle for Independence and Equal Rights
American Folksongs and the Blues: Pre-Civil War
            The Cakewalk and Children’s Game Songs
American Folksongs and the Blues: Post-Civil War
Minstrel Shows
The Dawn of Ragtime
The Term “Jazz”
Musical Influence on Religion, Racism, and Revolution
Jim Crow Segregation Perpetuates Segregated Musical Styles
IV. Innovators Emerging Between 1900 and 1910
Ecumenical Music Retention
The Continuation of Double Entendre and Other Modes of Communication
Afrocentric Dance and Musical Cross-Fertilization
Early Blues
            Gertrude “Ma” Rainey – “Mother of the Blues”
            William Christopher Handy – “Father of the Blues”
From Vaudeville to Ragtime
            Scott Joplin
            James Scott
            Thomas Million Turpin
            James Reese Europe
New Orleans – Dixieland “Jazz” (“Traditional Jazz”)
            “Buddy” Bolden
            William Gary “Bunk” Johnson
            “Jelly Roll” Morton
            “Papa” Celestin, “King” Oliver, and Freddie Keppard
            Other New Orleans Instrumentalists
Turn-of-the-Century Women Musicians
New York– Tin Pan Alley
African Musical Influences in the Americas
            The Evolution of the Drum Set
            The Double Bass Evolution
V. Innovators Emerging Between 1910 and 1920
The Blues Continues to Evolve
            Two Influential Rural Blues Musicians
            Classic Blues
            Bessie Smith
Ida Cox and Migrations to Northern Cities
            Mamie Smith
            Other Women Instrumentalists
Sidney Bechet and the Early Transition from Clarinet to Saxophone
Evolution of the Early Piano
Politics and the Twentieth-Century African American Church on the Eve of the Harlem Renaissance
VI. Innovators Emerging between 1920 and 1930
Snapshots of American Society
The Effects of Changing American Demographics on Music
New Orleans and the Movement East
Swing and Its Precursors
            Fats Waller
            New York During the Harlem Renaissance
Chicago Dixieland
The Jelly Roll Morton Documentary
Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and His Associates
            Joe “King” Oliver
            Lil Hardin Armstrong
            Bix Beiderbecke
Big Bands and the Approaching Swing Era
            African-American “Jazz” Bands
            Commercial and Middle-of-the-Road Bands
            Big Bands Swing
            Fletcher Henderson
            Duke Ellington
            Jimmie Lunceford
            Bennie Moten
            Count Basie
            Glenn Miller
            Paul Whiteman
The Media Continues to Burgeon
VII. Innovators Emerging Between 1930 and 1940
The New “Swing” Bands
Women’s Bands during the Early Twentieth Century
            Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears
            International Sweethearts of Rhythm
            Other Women’s Bands
Emma Barrett
Other Women Artists
Toward Greater Individual Expression
            Art Tatum
            Mary Lou Williams
The “Age of Sax Masters” Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young
            Coleman Hawkins
            Lester Young
            Ben Webster and the Influence of Hawkins and Young
The Voice Continues to Be a Strong Influence
            Billie Holiday
            Ella Fitzgerald
Ellington’s Afrocentricity and the European “Mirage”
The European Image of “Jazz”
            European “Mirage” and “Jazz” Politics
            Benny Goodman
Other African-American Dance Bands
A Glance at the Development of the Guitar in Early “Jazz”
VIII. Innovators Emerging Between 1940 and 1950
Basic Blues and Early Precursors of Modern “Jazz”
Bebop Ties to Past and Present Cultures
Bebop Begins to Evolve
            Progenitors of the Bebop Revolution
            Charlie “Bird” Parker and “Black” Music Downtown
            Misfortune, Drugs, and Alcohol Enter the Bop Scene
Bop Brass Instrumentalists
            Dizzy Gillespie
            Melba Doretta Liston
            Howard McGee and Others
Bebop Pianists
            Earl “Bud” Powell
            Thelonious Monk
            Women Bop Pianists
Other Bop Era Pianists
            Dorothy Donegan
            Lennie Tristano
Women Vocalists and Instrumentalists during the 1940s
            Sarah Vaughn
            Carmen McRae
            Pauline Braddy (Williams)
            Mary Osborne
“Progressive Jazz”
IX. Innovators Emerging Between 1950 and 1960
Continued Resistance to African-American Freedom
Miles David and “Cool Jazz”
Louis Jordan and Sonny Rollins
John Coltrane and Other New Approaches to Spontaneous Composition
Ornette Coleman
Cecil Taylor
Sun Ra
Charles Mingus
Two “Jazz” Harpists in the 1950s
            Dorothy Ashby
            Corky Hale
Art Blakely
Phineas Newborn
X. Innovators Emerging Between 1960 and 1970
Evolution of Innovative Music for 1960s Audiences
Restructuring Musical Approaches
Artistic Expression or Entertainment
Betty Carter
Alice Coltrane
Eric Dolphy and the “Jazz” Critics
Albert Ayler
The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
The Emergence of the Art Ensemble of Chicago
Dewey Redmen, Art David, and the New York Scene
Amina Claudine Myers
Pharaoh Sanders
Archie Shepp
Joanne Brackeen
Charles Tolliver
Toshiko Akiyoshi
“Traditional Jazz” Continues
1960s Music Outside African-American Culture
Summary: The American Society That 1960s Music Reflected
XI. Innovators Emerging Between 1970 and 1980
Changes Around the World
Spiritual “Jazz” and New Musical Settings
            Changing Attitudes in Europe
Connecting Fusion, Miles David, and Jimi Hendrix
            Jazz-Funk Fusion
            Jazz-Rock Fusion
            Donald Byrd
The Crossroads of Stylistic Evolution
More Conceptual Expansion
            Charles Mingus Reemerges during the 1970s
            Anthony Braxton
            The World Saxophone Quartet
            Joe Henderson
            McCoy Tyner
Instrumental Style Continues to Evolve
            The Evolution of the Flute
            Classical-“Jazz” Fusion and Other New Approaches
            Santeria and Musical Freedom
A Historical Summary
XII. Innovators Emerging Between 1980 and 2000
African-American Music in American Marketplace
            Emphasis Moves from Innovations to Youthful Image
Families of Musicians
            The Age of the Freelance Musician
Snapshot: Bay Area “Jazz” in the Early 1980s
The Contemporary Midwestern “Jazz” Scene
Rap and Hip-Hop Culture
Contemporary Politics & Labeling African-American Culture
Summary: Afrocentric Snapshots of a Shrinking Society

A reminder that much of the music that drives contemporary music and world culture has Afrocentric origins.


The controversy surrounding the ownership of "jazz" involves an intersection of residual "slave mentality" (that insists African Americans contribute little to world society) combined with a perpetual mode of exploitation of artistic innovations that result from African American creativity. Examining the evolution of African American music within the context of its sociocultural history makes the most salient aspects of the roots of innovative "Black" music increasingly clear. The success of "jazz" and other African American music gradually attracted the attention of people around the world. As a consequence, many Eurocentric capitalists and institutions insist upon claiming ownership and control. Racism and sexism provoke illogical responses and behavior throughout society. As a result, many people love "jazz" while refusing to acknowledge the progenitors of the music. Nonetheless, after all is said and done, the innovators of all "jazz" styles remain Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Mary Lou Williams, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and other African American masters.

Karlton E. Hester, composer, flutist, and saxophonist, is Professor of Music and Director of "Jazz" Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


"Bigotry and the Afrocentric 'Jazz' Evolution will become required reading in all substantial music and departments of the arts. I immediately recognized the value of Hester's contribution to contemporary musicology. His book is an example of five stars authorship. Read it and enjoy. " — Donald Byrd