Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Africa Speaks, America Answers

Review by Jo Manby, adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.

Book review: Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times by Robin D. G. Kelly (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. and London, England 2012)

This four-part volume, hailed as a ‘collective biography’ and written by the author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, vividly evokes the network of calls and responses across continents that linked modern jazz and Africa at a time of burgeoning revolutionary freedom – the 1950s and 60s.

Photo of book cover on shelf

Categories
Great Lives

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday centenary

Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago today, on the 7th April 1915. Her first recording session was in 1933, her last in 1959, the year of her death. The pre-eminent jazz singer of her day, she sold millions of records. But it was her most unlikely hit which she adopted as her signature song.

Photograph of Billie Holiday with dog
Billie Holiday with her dog, Mister, in 1947. Photograph by William P Gottlieb