Blues People

Blues People: Negro Music in White America
TitleBlues People: Negro Music in White America
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
AuthorBaraka, Amiri
Number of Pages244
CityNew York
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISBN or ASIN Number068818474X
KeywordsAfrican American Music, American Culture, blues, jazz, Music, Music History
Reprint EditionPerennial 2002
Copies at the Archive1

"The path the slave took to 'citizenship' is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz... [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music."

So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.