Black historical documentation and analysis continue to advance rapidly in the 2020s. The passing of George Floyd sits firmly as a tipping point that ignited the mass interest and acquisition of books that disrupt the white-washing of American history. The history of Black music in particular has been an area where scholars, historians and veteran musicians are breaking ground in mining, documenting and offering new inclusive forms of analysis from predominantly Black musicologists and historians. Music history through a Black lens is a long underrepresented historical perspective; nonetheless, there are three new books that will expand the Black music history canon and offer new historical context and diversity to academic books and sheet music collections.

Music in Black American Life, 1600-1945 (University of Illinois Press)

“Music in Black American Life” is a collection of articles and analyses that were originally published in the Black Music Research Journal, “Music In American Life” book series and the American Music Journal. The selected writings were chosen from an array of experts who explored the music of Black Americans during colonial America throughout the innovations of the bebop jazz era, gospel and blues. Within those sounds and parameters, the book examines genres and string music that are lesser known to broad audiences. Contributors include R. Reid Badger, Rae Linda Brown, Samuel A. Floyd Jr., Sandra Jean Graham, Jeffrey Magee, Robert M. Marovich, Harriet Ottenheimer, Eileen Southern, Katrina Dyonne Thompson, Stephen Wade, and Charles Wolfe.

Music in Black American Life, 1945-2020 (University of Illinois Press)

“Music in Black American Life” the second volume continues with its selections of writings that were originally published in Black Music Research Journal, American Music and Music in American Life along with the African American Music in Global Perspective. With contributions from mostly Black scholars, this compilation “explores a variety of topics with works that pioneered new methodologies and modes of inquiry for hearing and studying Black music.” Spanning from the World War II jazz era to the emergence of hip hop out of underserved communities in South Bronx, to the impact of “Hamilton” on American mainstream culture, this book is a well of information and thought-provoking examinations. Contributors include Nelson George, Wayne Everett Goins, Claudrena N. Harold, Eileen M. Hayes, Loren Kajikawa, Robin D. G. Kelley, Tammy L. Kernodle, Cheryl L. Keyes, Gwendolyn Pough, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Mark Tucker, and Sherrie Tucker.

New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets By Women Composers (Berklee Press) 

Editor: Terri Lyne Carrington

Iconic jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, who helms as the founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, has created a visionary collection of the sheet music of women jazz composers. Carrington has built a resource and alternative to the volumes of male-dominated books of jazz standards, and reimagined what is considered relevant in the jazz music canon. The music in “New Standards” spans nearly a century, with Lil Hardin Armstrong’s work from 1922 to songs written in 2021 by recent Institute graduates. The collection also includes compositions from Mary Lou Williams, Alice Coltrane, esperanza spalding, Geri Allen, Maria Schneider, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Dorothy Ashby, Nubya Garcia, Nicole Mitchell and many others

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