August 19, 2013

Albert Murray, RIP

The Harlem literary critic and USAF major (ret.) has died at 97.

Back in 1997 I reviewed The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, which was edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., for National Review. In "The Ebony Tower," I wrote:
This compendium raises the more general question of what is the overall contribution of blacks to American culture? One appealing, if possibly grandiose, perspective might be called the Patriotic Black Chauvinism of blues critic and novelist Albert Murray. In contrast to so many other black literary intellectuals, who've only been employed as professors and who now reside in such hotbeds of African American culture as Amherst and Santa Cruz, Murray is a retired Air Force major living in Harlem. Along with his friend Ralph Ellison (author of Invisible Man) and disciples such as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Murray has argued that rather than merely being a pitiful victim of racism, the black man's defiant sense of style makes him the most distinctively representative of Americans. That seems fairly plausible, if unprovable. A cruder version is testable: If America otherwise was as WASPish as Protestant Canada, would blacks by themselves make America a much more interesting place than Canada? Most definitely. (Of course, several other American ethnic groups could claim the same: after all, for better or worse, America is a lot less boring than Canada.)

From the NYT obituary, an interesting adoption experiment story of nature and nurture:
Albert Lee Murray was born on May 12, 1916, in Nokomis, Ala., to middle-class parents who soon gave him up for adoption to Hugh Murray, a laborer, and his wife, Matty. “It’s just like the prince left among the paupers,” said Mr. Murray, who learned of his adoption when he was about 11. ... As rendered in Mr. Murray’s inventive prose, the adolescent Scooter and his friend Buddy Marshall could imagine themselves as “explorers and discoverers and Indian scouts as well as sea pirates and cowboys and African spear fighters not to mention the two schemingest gamblers and back alley ramblers this side of Philmayork.” 
After graduating from the Mobile County Training School, where he earned letters in three sports and was voted the best all-around student, Mr. Murray enrolled at Tuskegee Institute, where he discovered literature and immersed himself in Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce and Mann. He met Ralph Ellison, an upperclassman, as well as another student, Mozelle Menefee, who became his wife in 1941. She survives him, as does their daughter, Michéle Murray, who became a dancer with the Alvin Ailey company.
... He enlisted in the military in 1943 and spent the last two years of World War II in the Army Air Corps. After the war, the Murrays moved to New York City, where he used the G.I. Bill to earn a master’s degree from N.Y.U. and renew his friendship with Ellison. In 1951, a year before Ellison published his classic work, “Invisible Man,” Mr. Murray rejoined the military, entering the Air Force. He served in the military, peripatetically, for 11 years 

My recollection is that when Murray was serving at bases in West Germany, he'd hop the train for Paris every time he got some leave and go hang out with the black jazz greats then in France. I believe Murray tended to see the glass as half full. While it was a shame that America was less welcoming to these artists than France was, he couldn't overlook that the American taxpayers were paying for his glorious Bohemian weekends in Paris by providing him with a good square job Monday to Friday that got him saluted all the time.

68 comments:

Thursday said...

RE: Your review of Gates' anthology.

In contrast, they don't yet publish much on other themes. Notice that you almost never find yourself saying: "Gee, I didn't know that writer is black." The only author in the anthology that I was surprised to learn was black was science fiction novelist Samuel R. Delaney.

I've been spending some time in fairly close contact with a famous author of African ancestry who is not American. You can tell he is black because of the geography where is work is set, and some of the European imperial themes that keep cropping up from time to time, but he actually doesn't write much on race per se. The same is true of a lot of other black writers from outside America. Black people in the U.S. seem obsessed with their screwed up relationship with white people in a way that people of the same race elsewhere in the world are not.

Anonymous said...

In the excerpted review, you ask what "overall contribution" blacks have made to American popular culture. To state the obvious, American popular music since the start of the 20th century (indeed, the popular music of the entire world) is unthinkable without the black contribution.

carol said...

Huh. I remember his face from the Ken Burns Jazz series...I'll have to look him up in the library. I spent a couple years reading books by Ellison, DuBois, Booker et al.

I highly recommend Colored People by Gates.

Anonymous said...

@thursday as a black person born in America to African parents I often say Black Amercans are obsessed with White Americans. Every position or view tends to be viewed in the context of how Whites view an issue. It's never analyzed on its own merits. Take immigration while it is clear Black Americans are the biggest losers in the mass immigration scheme because hated White conservatives are against it reflexively they're for it or don't raise much of a peep against it.

I find this bizarre but understandable I guess.

Anonymous said...

In the excerpted review, you ask what "overall contribution" blacks have made to American popular culture. To state the obvious, American popular music since the start of the 20th century (indeed, the popular music of the entire world) is unthinkable without the black contribution.

Try reading the whole article:

"the realms where blacks are world-conquering (e.g., music)"

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

Murray seems like an interesting guy, but his prose style is just awful. Though I've rid myself of a lot of books in recent years, I continue to own a copy of his "Stomping the Blues." The primary reason is that it is such an exhibit of over-writing that is trying to match the grandeur to which he (rightfully) thinks jazz is entitled. If he'd written about subject matter of which he was less worshipful, he probably would have much better.

But, nonetheless, he spoke tirelessly in defense of some of the best our country has to offer. RIP.

Mr Lomez said...

The same is true of a lot of other black writers from outside America. Black people in the U.S. seem obsessed with their screwed up relationship with white people in a way that people of the same race elsewhere in the world are not.

It's pretty much unavoidable for African American writers to discuss race and racial politics as central themes. And not necessarily by choice. Colson Whitehead has talked about this problem before: that being a black intellectual in America demands that you have something to say about the "black experience" -- and always in relation to "white society." Fellow blacks demand this as much as Liberal white audiences who love to see the lesser-bred branches of their extended families demonized. Most black intellectuals can, and do, make a pretty nice career out of exploiting this obsession, but I'm sure there are plenty of black writers -- and movie directors, for that matter -- who would rather avoid it. If they did, though, they'd be marginalized and their books would never sell.

Extropico said...

I really enjoy some black jazz music. Just heard Meshell Ndegeocello perform "Be My Husband" on Swiss radio this morning. It is much easier to enjoy the actual benefits of other cultures if one doesn't feel as though one's own culture is being threatened with extinction.

Modern Abraham said...

While it was a shame that America was less welcoming to these artists than France was...

Yeah, real hard to welcome the creme-de-la-creme: beautiful (Josephine Baker), scintillating, outrageously talented artists and performers. Especially when they come singly and not in villages. I don't mean to play the neo-con reverse shame-game here. But almost every tribe will graciously welcome a single visitor, no matter how strange or exotic (to them). Many even provide him with a comfort-girl for the night. Whole different story when an entire colony shows up, and not of the mother nation's best and brightest either.

To state the obvious, American popular music since the start of the 20th century (indeed, the popular music of the entire world) is unthinkable without the black contribution.

Yes, but somewhat of a poisoned gift. On T'neshi Coates's blog (don't care enough to get the orthography write) someone commented during the Trayvon Martin case that using Trayvon's lewd tweets against his character was unfair, because this middle-aged, rock-n-roll listnin' white guy had said some pretty nasty sh!t at that age too. Ah, rock n' roll, that purest of European musical forms. Black contributions to American popular music have ALWAYS dirtied up the general culture. "Jelly Roll" Morton's nickname did not come from the baked goods ailse.

On the one hand, yeah, Led Zeppelin without Robert Johnson is unthinkable. On the other, despite owning his complete recordings, I have never been able to sit through an entire song. Just because I've hung posters of the MIG-29 does not mean I want to watch documentaries about archaeopteryx. And these days you're as likely to get a graphing calculator in the hands of a brother as an electric guitar.

Anonymous said...

"Ornette (Coleman) came up and said, 'This is free jazz.' But what is freer than jazz? The whole thing is about freedom. Why would anyone want to free it? Because the whole idea of art is to create a form that is a bulwark against entropy or chaos. That's the function of jazz. It's not to be formless or absolutely self-indulgent. You cannot embrace entropy. You cannot embrace chaos." (Albert Murray on free jazz, from the Ken Burns doc)

Anonymous said...

"as a black person born in America to African parents I often say Black Amercans are obsessed with White Americans. Every position or view tends to be viewed in the context of how Whites view an issue. It's never analyzed on its own merits. Take immigration while it is clear Black Americans are the biggest losers in the mass immigration scheme because hated White conservatives are against it reflexively they're for it or don't raise much of a peep against it."

Politically, blacks are wholly owned by the Democratic Party. It's completely unthinkable for black politicians to ever go against the party ideology in any significant way. The Jews, rich homos and tech companies who finance Democratic campaigns simply have far too much power. The average black American hates illegal Mexicans and doesn't like gay marriage, but you'll never, ever see any black elected official reflecting those views.

Anonymous said...

being a black intellectual in America

Isn't that an oxymoron


Abe, hold on there.

On the one hand, yeah, Led Zeppelin without Robert Johnson is unthinkable.


Perhaps so. But the Beatles owe little next to nothing to black music. Sgt Pepper, white album etc are pure white. Brit white, but still white.

See, it is possible for white folks to be influenced by JUST white folks in some things. It is possible.



And these days you're as likely to get a graphing calculator in the hands of a brother as an electric guitar.



"These days" = since about 1980. Both calculators, maths, and electric guitars are too white for the brothers. They don't do "white stuff". Try to see it from where they're coming from.

TL for you: Jazz is dead. Has been for oh,....since about the 60s. Its not relevant or real to majority of people as it once was.

People forget that most white and black jazz artists, while they recorded plenty of underground edgy stuff they also were pretty much mainstream top 40 long long ago. They were making dough, lots of it. Then came the 60s, rock, etc.

Modern rock, grunge, alternative, heavy metal etc owes NOTHING to black folks. Nothing.

Probably why you dont see any black modern rock musicians in any significant number either as members of rock bands or as customers.

To do so would be selling out and acting white. Nothing worse these days for blacks than to be perceived as acting white (especially something perceived as white Jewish for that matter).

Steve Sailer said...

Chuck Berry and Little Richard might disagree with you.

Truth said...

"Perhaps so. But the Beatles owe little next to nothing to black music. Sgt Pepper, white album etc are pure white. Brit white, but still white."

McCartney would slap the shit out of you if he read that.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
Chuck Berry and Little Richard might disagree with you.

Of course THEY will. They influenced Elvis and others yes.


I"m referring to post-Beatlemania, when their lyric content matured and they stopped touring.
But Lennon MacCartney dont owe very much (post-early beatlemania) to them.

Revolver? Come on. Sgt Pepper? No way. "Strawberry fields"? "The Walrus"? Nope. That's all white folks stuff. Those lyrics would almost never have been written by an african american of that era (might still not be written today by african americans)

White Album? Abbey Road? Come on. Even most of their solo careers are clearly white influenced. Look what they write/wrote about. White stuff.


The Beatles were about as white bread as you can get. Remember, UK didnt have a ton of blacks over there during that era, certainly not in Liverpool. Not to any significant number at that time.

Derbyshire would probably concede that last point.

Now if you want to make the case for Rolling Stones, then of course.

But again, today's rock music is pure white. It owes next to nothing to them. And, with unsurprising consistency, blacks today dont want much to do with what they perceive as "white music" which of course it is.


And I didnt even get to groups like Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, etc. Those groups are pure white. No discernible black influence on their music or style or lyrics at all.

Ozzy Ozbourne? Influenced by Little Richard. You may wanna rethink that.

I'm sorry but Kurt Cobain wasn't listening to the bros when he was penning his songs. Where'd he come from? Seattle. About as SWPL as you can get.


I mean, you know it is possible for white musicians to actually create music that does not owe a thing to blacks. That is possible. Gets kind of patronizing in an off sort of way "Well, the only good cool stuff that whites ever think up was done by a brother first."

Yeah, sure. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Truth said...
"Perhaps so. But the Beatles owe little next to nothing to black music. Sgt Pepper, white album etc are pure white. Brit white, but still white."

McCartney would slap the shit out of you if he read that.


Whatever. Early career, yes. Post 65 onward. Next to nothing.

Yesterday? Michelle? Those are all white stuff. Penny Lane? Let it Be? Winding Road? All you need is love? White music.

COME ON! That's 'bout as white as Partridge Family.



Okay Truthie, here's the true test. Cause the borthers know who is and who is not with 'em all the way.


TODAY. RIGHT NOW (in 2013) what percentage of blacks are Beatles fans? Meaning can actually name a huge number of songs and listen to them and...attend MacCartney's shows in US?

ANSWER: ZIP Less than 2% if that.

Scan Macca's concerts who's attending them some time. ALL....WHITE PEOPLE

Blacks dont listen to that shit. Dont like it, but rather tell the truth to the truthie than to lie.

They dont listen to what they perceive as white music. End of story. In their minds, why should they?
Why should they wanna act white and bow to the man?

Truth hurts dont it truthie?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon (@9:21, 9:26, etc),

The point you're trying to make does not contradict what others have said. Rock has been almost exclusively white for the past 50 years or so, as you point out. Hendrix is perhaps the only notable black rock artist post-1960. However, blacks played a critical role in the birth of the genre, which is the point Steve and others are making.

My understanding is that early rock'n'roll emerged through the convergence of both white and black musical styles. Whites ran with the new sound; blacks soon abandoned it.

dirk said...

The greatest American music is mostly black music and you racists who want to deny that are just being morons.

If you don't like Robert Johnson, it just goes to show you have bad taste. Go back to Canada, aye.

Anonymous said...


Dear Anon (@9:21, 9:26, etc),

The point you're trying to make does not contradict what others have said.


Uh...I think I made the point quite well, actually.



Rock has been almost exclusively white for the past 50 years or so, as you point out. Hendrix is perhaps the only notable black rock artist post-1960.


Yes, and who were Jimi's fans? The majority then as now, were WHITES, not blacks. Certainly not blacks today. If they were to hear his music they'd consider him to be "too white". Unless they would sample his vocals in a hip hop gansta song. Then that's okay, it'd be cool again cause they would be rescuing him from da man.








However, blacks played a critical role in the birth of the genre, which is the point Steve and others are making.


No duh. And that's the point we've been hearing for the last oh..half century. My point is still: WHAT have blacks DIRECTLY contributed to MODERN (as in 2013) rock music? What have they contributed? Answer: Zip



Whites ran with the new sound; blacks soon abandoned it.


Question: And WHY did they abandon a genre they helped to create? Why is that? One major answer: Cause "their" music had become "too white". And they're not having none of that.

Funny thing about some groups: They're very explicitly straight up about what they like and don't like. Wonder why?

Point is: MODERN rock music = near 100% white. Facts are facts whether some want to face them or not is another matter.

We dont live in 1965. We live in 2013. All we have is this moment called right now.

Right now, the bros are not gonna listen to "white" music. That's a fact. Not in any significant number. If they were or if there was some black grunge, heavy metal, hard rock band or artist the NYT, DCPost etc would be drawing everyone's attention to it. They'd be on the cover of Rolling Stone. We'd all know it, since once again, it's about blacks and what they have contributed to the music.

My other point: It is entirely possible for whites to create music that owes nothing to blacks just as it is for blacks to create music that owes nothing to whites.

Rap music is 100% black. Whites didnt create it, blacks did and they are the majority of its fans and artists.

Wonder why that is?? Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

dirk said...
The greatest American music is mostly black music and you racists who want to deny that are just being morons.


Yeah whatever. Tell that to those who like Country music. What are YOU...a racist??


Well, to use your line of thought, the greatest smart people with highest IQs tend to mostly be WHITES.

Get over it, and stop acting racist.

Ray Sawhill said...

Sorry to hear that Mr. Murray has died. I think he was one of the real greats. "Stomping the Blues" and some of his other books helped me understand black American culture in a way nothing else has, and he had a generous, expansive view of culture generally too. (He shared his vision with his friend Ralph Ellison, whose "Invisible Man" and essays are also great.) I had the luck to spend a few meals with him many years ago, and I even got to visit him at his legendary Harlem apartment -- quite an honor! Mr. Murray -- I learned very quickly not to try to call him "Albert" -- was a great talker and a natural-born teacher. I kept a tape recorder running for some of those get-togethers. Hmm, I should dig up the tapes. If I can find them, I'll transcribe them and publish them on my blog soon.

Anonymous said...

groups like Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, etc. Those groups are pure white. No discernible black influence on their music or style or lyrics at all.

You have wax in your ears. Forget the lyrics, notate the music or play it on a piano and you're hearing blues intervals. The great project of white rockers of the 60s and 70s was to sound more black-American.

Anonymous said...

Black influened songs Post 1965 beatles... Lets see...

Dig A Pony, I've Got A Feeling, Get Back, Dig It, Why don't we do it in the road, Cry baby cry, Come Together, I Want You, Oh! Darling.

Those would be the obvious ones. Someone with a background in music theory and composition might make a more thorough list.

Anonymous said...

The Beach Boys , known to be a pretty darned white band, loved Chuck Berry so much that they agreed to pay him their royalties for "Surfin' USA," after he sued them and won for ripping off "Sweet Little Sixteen."

Anonymous said...


You have wax in your ears. Forget the lyrics, notate the music or play it on a piano and you're hearing blues intervals. The great project of white rockers of the 60s and 70s was to sound more black-American


You cant win on the lyrics, no wonder you say ignore them when that's about 90% of any song. What are they singing is the main component to any band's song.


Yeah, all these bands consciously were trying to sound like blacks. Yup. Sure they were cause they told you so. Dipshit.


Ozzy Ozbourne was trying to sound black? Grow up
Its not there dude. Heavy metal is about as white as you can get.


AGAIN, if these bands are sooo black, then their audience should reflect that in some degree, right? Taking your words to its conclusion, we should see that their consumers, fans, etc are at least 50% black?

Are they? Nope. Not even 2%. It's all white created for white people SWPL

Anonymous said...
Black influened songs Post 1965 beatles... Lets see...

Dig A Pony, I've Got A Feeling, Get Back, Dig It, Why don't we do it in the road, Cry baby cry, Come Together, I Want You, Oh! Darling.

Those would be the obvious ones. Someone with a background in music theory and composition might make a more thorough list


Music theory and composition, those IQ education things that were white invented, thanks for pointing that out dude.
Nice list. That's about IT, post 65. THere's no thorough list. Starting with Rubber Soul, they went white.


I'll name the hits, ones everyone knows if you don't get it yet: Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, In My life Lucy in the Sky with diamonds, day in the life, helter skelter, I will, julia, eleanor rigby, here comes the sun, something. She said she said, Rain, back in ussr, obla di obla da, revolution, #9, Hey Jude.

Yellow Submarine, now there's a REAALLY black song!
Sound pretty white there.

OK. At least arguments are there since that was so long ago.

What about NOW 2013. Which popular grunge, alternative, metal, hard rock groups (white guys) are directly influenced by blacks. Answer: Zip

Green day? NIrvana? Foo fighters? Zip.

Grunge? Zip influence Alternative rock? Zip. Its pure white.

Radiohead? Oasis? White music

And their fan base and audience and critics reflect that.

Its all white based in 2013.

James O'Meara said...

"Why would anyone want to free it? Because the whole idea of art is to create a form that is a bulwark against entropy or chaos. That's the function of jazz. It's not to be formless or absolutely self-indulgent. You cannot embrace entropy. You cannot embrace chaos." (Albert Murray on free jazz, from the Ken Burns doc)"

Now I know where Marsalys gets his old fogie ideas about Jazz.

"I knew when I could make a mistake, I had something" -- Ornette Coleman.

Yeah, chaos alright. "You kids, it's just noise!"

James O'Meara said...

The relationship of blacks to "white" rock is like the relationship of African gold to De Beers. Sure, the White man stole it, but he made it his own, and the black man didn't know what to do with it anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Whites ran with the new sound; blacks soon abandoned it."

One of the driving forces of black musical creativity might be that they abandon a form and think of a new onee as soon as white people start to get into it.

Anonymous said...

"bey Road? Come on. Even most of their solo careers are clearly white influenced. Look what they write/wrote about. White stuff."

Given that 'Come Together' is a rip off of a Chuck Berry song...

uh, nevermind, troll feeding bad.

Modern Abraham said...

I"m referring to post-Beatlemania, when their lyric content matured and they stopped touring. Revolver? Come on. Sgt Pepper? No way. "Strawberry fields"? "The Walrus"? Nope. That's all white folks stuff. The Beatles were about as white bread as you can get

A few years ago, when a cousin was getting on in years and becoming too feeble to shoulder the burden anymore, he gave me an extraordinary gift. You see his father, my great-uncle, had come home from the war with a medium-sized burlap sack. And inside the sack was a jar. And inside the jar was- why, the frozen head of Joseph Goebbels!

Each November, when the weather was just on the edge of everything freezing over, he would take the head out of that jar and partially thaw it. And- what do you know!- Herr Goebbels's head would revive and he would begin talking. Over several seasons my great uncle was able to get him fluent in English. And it turned out Joseph was a real peach of a gentlemen so long as you didn't get him started on politics or international finance. Cultured, intelligent, sensitive. The only real Nazi with a PhD. And it showed!

Since the family had gotten in the habit of seeking his opinion on all sorts of personal matters (he got my sister over her pre-wedding jitters, and next June it'll be her crystal wedding anniversary!) I couldn't help it- I thawed his head even though it isn't even autumn by placing it at the threshold of my open garage refrigerator.

Dr. Goebbels only listens to Schubert when in the mood, so his perspective on American popular music is unbiased and fresh (ha!). Anyway, I played St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for him, and after an all-night discussion, and some cussin', and a little brow-beating (ha!) I finally got him to concede that when Paul's ragged vocals comes in at "It was 20 years ago today" and then end with "The one and only Billy Shears!", that did NOT constitute "ersatz sex-crazed Nergo wailing", to use his term for it.

Okay, I take that back. That last part was so unbelievable it calls the rest of my story into question.

Modern Abraham said...


The relationship of blacks to "white" rock is like the relationship of African gold to De Beers. Sure, the White man stole it, but he made it his own, and the black man didn't know what to do with it anyway.


Made it his own, then ran it into the ground. Super-charged the speed at the expense of any rhythm (i.e. sexiness). Changed the lyrical content from romance (or, at least, sex) to Lovecraft monsters and WWI quadruple amputees, then watched as the chicks headed for the exists. Even as early as Spinal Tap people were noticing the audience had thinned out to mostly teenage boys. You actively repel women, your days are numbered.

It seems rock is fractured into a lot of insignificant niches these days. Morbid metal for the dungeons and dragons weirdos. Dweeby, artisanal college rock for 20-something SWPLs- lo-fi movement trying to see if you can still cut a record on wax cylinders. And then white-trashy nu metal, which takes a lot of stylistic cues from hip-hop.


Green day? NIrvana? Foo fighters? Zip.


Kurt Cobain was a double-agent; the Tim Wise of 90's music. Hated Pearl Jam partly b/c their bassist had worn a varsity basketball jacket in high school. Claimed to admire rap though he came from super-white central WA, and never tried touring with a hip-hop act (unlike that redneck Axl Rose, who wore NWA gear all the time).

If Cobain knew the state of rock today he'd be smiling from his grave. Rock was once the only common initiation ritual for the white American male. Now it's gone and white dweebs are arguing over whether they're required to redact the n-word when singing along to their latest favorite rap song ("Ok, so obviously I can't say it at a concert. But what about when I'm listening at home." "Are there guests?")

vinteuil said...

@dirk: "The greatest American music is mostly black music..."

No, the greatest American music is mostly *gay* music.

Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, The Red Pony, etc.

Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Adagio for Strings, etc.

Ray Sawhill said...

Albert Murray was Wynton Marsalis' guru, and was the main mind behind Jazz at Lincoln Center. In his view Jazz was/is the "classical music" of black culture.

Anonymous said...


One of the driving forces of black musical creativity might be that they abandon a form and think of a new onee as soon as white people start to get into it.


Dunno that would tend to suggest conscious thought. Dont know. Even money and history wouldnt agree with you.

ALSO, WHAT GENRE in about 25 yrs since gangsta/hip hop/rap was invented....have black musicians come up with? What's the new musical art form that they have created in the last 25 yrs SINCE RAP?

Post-Rap. Are we there yet? Have the bros created any NEW music form?

ANSWER: Nope

We'd have heard about it all over if we had by now.

So since about 1990 or so, the bros have been quite silent in inventing coming up with new music artforms/genres.

They haven't doine it since rap. Maybe...its all over for them thinking wise creating new forms of music

MAYBE...we should look elsewhere at other ethnics to provide the creativity 2013 and beyond.

No new music form since rap and that was circa 1990 or so.

Nothin. If its been out there, we'd have all heard about it by now. NYTimes DCPost, Rolling Stone would be drooling all over hyping it as the newest coolest trend in music.

Not there. it doesnt exist.

The bros are alllll created out. Tapped out.

Its over.

Anonymous said...


Given that 'Come Together' is a rip off of a Chuck Berry song...

uh, nevermind, troll feeding bad.

No, no. Come on, bring it. Wanna count the # of black vs white songs in each of their repretoires? Bring it. White songs. Few exceptions.

How about Dont let me down; ballad of john and yoko; Something;

Ok, Ass clown, explain "IMAGINE". How's that a black song? Lyrics wise are about as white bread as you can get.

"Jet" "My love"


Also, ass clown, you dont address the other part of the point: There are no modern (2013) rock groups RIGHT NOW that you can honestly say are playing black music. They're white. Its as white as you can get.

This isnt 1965 anymore. It's 2013. You cant live in the past, you have to live in the moment that you're in. There isn't any more bros influencing rock music.

Again, blacks dont listen to modern right now rock music. It's "too white". That would be uncool. They don't buy the music, they don't attend the concerts in any major percentage. They dont do "white music".

Of course, "too white" is also: going to school; getting degree; getting a good professional job; staying out of jail; You know, all that stuff that's just "too white".

IRONY: This obit about this jazz critic. Wanna bet blacks under the age of 40 never heard of him OR would think he's too uncool cause he was "too white" and therefore selling out to the man?

Dipshit

Ali said...

I've got both James Brown and Def Leppard in my car CD-changer.

To my uneducated ears they sound kind of alike.

Even metal bands like Megadeth and Opeth with a mostly non-black fanbase have a fair amount of jazz influence.

MQ said...

All rock and country music, indeed all American popular music, owes a huge, incalculable debt to the blues. Try listening to Jimmy Rogers (father of country music). He sounds like a straight-up blues singer. Or look at the huge influence of black jazz musicians on Bing Crosby, now considered the whitest of singers.

On the other hand, black musical forms were also white influenced -- influenced by folk and also European art music. The brilliant early ragtime/swing composers who turned the blues into a mass popular art form -- WC Handy, Scott Joplin, Will Cook -- had classical training.

Basically, American culture, most especially music, is a mulatto culture, formed by the intersection and interaction of black and white. But there's a good argument blacks have had the lead in music.

Anonymous said...

People always going on about Canada being boring and never have any time there. I have alway found the place interesting as hell. Francophone Quebec, Newfoundand, American Tories from the revolution and their lingering influence, Scotch Irish Orangement everywhere. Just a start...

Steve Sailer said...

The whitest affect / blackest musical structure band ever was Talking Heads, fl. 1977-1986.

Steve Sailer said...

The problem with American popular music since the early 1980s has been that the races have diverged with the notion that whites being influenced by blacks was Stealing and blacks being influenced by whites was shameful.

At his Super Bowl halftime show a half decade ago, Prince tried to suggest otherwise, playing a couple of golden age rock songs where blacks had covered whites: All Along the Watchtower and Proud Mary.

Anonymous said...

If Prince beat a murder rap blacks wouldn't celebrate.
That's probally why the half show had no effect to blacks Prince be Uncle Tom

Anonymous said...

Intersting that Ray Orbison, who seems to me at least to not have been influenced much by black music, starts his meteoric comeback right about that time that the fracturing of musical taste occurs. I know blue velvet definitely helped but maybe he was the first to benefit from the "he didn't his songs from blacks" effect.

Anonymous said...

ow it's gone and white dweebs are arguing over whether they're required to redact the n-word when singing along to their latest favorite rap song


Who does that?? Must be your baby boomer generation. Tons of 20somethings use the n word when they listen to their rap. You dont know who Eminem is, huh? Never heard of him. Google dude. Google.

If anything, blacks looovvvvee using the n word, they do it all the time. Certain whites get a dispensation. Specially if they've spent time in prison or the thug gangsta culture directly spawned by rap and hip hop which were completely originated by blacks.


Dweebs = fairly high IQs (like Jews, being among the most prominent, right Abie?) So then, in your way of thinking, blacks aren't dweebs since they're not smart enough.

Thank you for clearing up that final point. Gotcha.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
The problem with American popular music since the early 1980s has been that the races have diverged with the notion that whites being influenced by blacks was Stealing and blacks being influenced by whites was shameful.



Finish your thought though. Blacks today 2013wise, listen to rap and hip hop, the genres of which were prision based and glorified the thug life. Blacks are not going to listen to what they perceive as "white music". Not exactly sure why this is so hard for white people to accept. Of course, white people being somewhat insecure about how they are perceived by blacks, bend over backwards to show that they mean no harm toward anyone and just want to be blacks friends. Blacks dont have those particular hang ups. If they dont want to like you for whatever reason, they wont. Simple as that.




At his Super Bowl halftime show a half decade ago, Prince tried to suggest otherwise, playing a couple of golden age rock songs where blacks had covered whites: All Along the Watchtower and Proud Mary.



Prince has not been relevant since about 1994 but nice try. He's too old. This is after all 2013 and not 1980s. I would almost venture to say that most of Prince's fans today are whites and not blacks who most likely view him as a sell out, Uncle Tom and bendin' over for the Man.


Again, what do blacks listen to right now? What have they listened to since the late 80s? They cant influence rock today right now because they haven't listened to that music for near 30yrs and they dont even play those instruments in any significant number anymore.

They are being authentically real to themselves and to their own. They dont want nothin' to do with the man's music.

Why is that so hard to understand? Go to any hard rock metal grunge etc show, look at the audience. What do you see?? Nearly 98% white people. Wonder why that is?? Modern rock is as white as Madonna and techno music.

Anonymous said...

Basically, Blacks started Rock and Roll. Whites picked up on it. The black influence gradually diluted over time. By the 1980's, Blacks were out of the Rock biz.

The 1980's were a really weird transition period in pop music. Everybody was trying to become more electronic or New Wave-like. Hip Hop was born against that backdrop.

Personally, I think that the rise in hip hop and other electronic music forms coincides with the decline in music education in public schools. People lost their taste for harmony and melody and now just want to hear rhythm with ugly, jarring lyrics. I think the experience of experience of learning a musical instrument and/or singing in a organized group as a child is VALUABLE formative experience that contributes to brain development and positive social values. It's a shame if you ask me, that we have lost our emphasis on instrumental music education.

Anonymous said...

Kurt Cobain was a double-agent; the Tim Wise of 90's music. Hated Pearl Jam partly b/c their bassist had worn a varsity basketball jacket in high school.



You know, all these bogus bs things that have been written sine Cobain's death nearly 20yrs ago never cease to amaze me.

Another example: Right before his death, Cobain expressed influence in born again Christian faith healers such as Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer. Even attended their churches in cognito to find out more about them and ask them questions.

See, neither what you or I said is provable in court of law and thus is inadmissible. Its all bs, but that's the price of immortality once your fame grows to the levels it has done for Cobain, then things get written about you yrs later after the fact. Most of it, nearly all of it, total bogus.



Claimed to admire rap though he came from super-white central WA, and never tried touring with a hip-hop act


Again, total bs. Since he didnt tour with those artists and his songs do not have any discernible black influence at all whatsoever.

Again, why is it so controversial to state that its very much possible to allow that whites can create music wihtout owing a thing to blacks and blacks can create music without owing anything to whites? Facts are facts deal with it, Abie.


(unlike that redneck Axl Rose, who wore NWA gear all the time).


Whatever. Believe what you want it seems to make you feel better. Cause EVERYONE knows how much direct influence Axl's music and songs have been influenced by rap and hip hop. Suurreeee it has.



Rock was once the only common initiation ritual for the white American male.


Bogus, every generation says that. You must be fairly old to say that one. Now we have rap and hip hop, which both races listen to in large numbers. There's you common initiation.
You never heard of Eminem? Google, dude. Just cause rap hip hop gangsta music that mostly originated in prison and the thug gang culture it spawned may not be your experience doesnt give you the right to chastise the authenticity of a group's experience. Its living and real to them. It's theirs and what makes them unique since it organically originated from their neighborhoods.




How come you dont say black dweebs? Oh that's right. Dweeb = high IQ and in your way of thinking blacks are automatically excluded. Notice, no one thinks of blacks as being nerdy dweeby or...smart for that matter. Sports inclined, yes. Smart IQs on levels of Jews or Asians? Lets see the Abies conceded that one. Not happening before the 2nd coming.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think that the rise in hip hop and other electronic music forms coincides with the decline in music education in public schools. People lost their taste for harmony and melody and now just want to hear rhythm with ugly, jarring lyrics. I think the experience of experience of learning a musical instrument and/or singing in a organized group as a child is VALUABLE formative experience that contributes to brain development and positive social values. It's a shame if you ask me, that we have lost our emphasis on instrumental music education.


No, hip hop came from rap, most of which was originated in prison and in the prison gangster culture that originated it.

Why are you judging an entire experience that is real for others? This music came from their hoods and prisons. It came out of their experience, it was birthed within them. Its real. Not fake, not bs. Real.
Why aren't they allowed to have their own music experience that is real to them? Who are we to judge?

Anonymous said...

I look at it this way:

To this day we still have some (emphasis on "some") significant white musicians who are overtly trying to imitate distinctly black forms (e.g. reggae, funk, hip hop, blues) but you really don't see any black artists trying to overtly imitate white forms. It's frowned upon, for whatever reason.

As far as rock goes, it's a really muddy picture. Hendrix was inspired by Clapton and Townsend and so forth, and he in turn inspired many many others. AC/DC and Led Zepplin type of guitar riffs were inspired by black blues guitar, but put an entirely new slant on the instrument. Those who followed were as much, if not more influenced by the way the new rock gods played, than by the blues that inspired them.

As an aside, when I was coming up through school, the well educated middle class blacks listened to the same music I listened to, while the lower class blacks were pretty much exclusively into hip hop. We (the middle class) played instruments and talked about music. They (the lower class) didn't play instruments and I think they talked about rappers. . . and they were a lot more concerned about who had more street cred or who was "OG" and that sort of shit. It was definitely a cultural thing.

Anonymous said...

When I was coming up through school, the well educated middle class blacks listened to the same music I listened to, while the lower class blacks were pretty much exclusively into hip hop.


Probably a small insignificant percentage since very few blacks listen to "white" music per se. The numbers aren't there.



We (the middle class) played instruments and talked about music. They (the lower class) didn't play instruments and I think they talked about rappers. . . and they were a lot more concerned about who had more street cred or who was "OG" and that sort of shit. It was definitely a cultural thing.



It is a Racial thing. Get over it. These upper mid class blacks would most likely be considered sell outs, uncle toms house slaves etc race traitors.

You know what? Based on their authentic real experience, the lower class blacks are right. They have a point and they're usually very vocal about what they believe. You're either with them or against them. The pressure for the small numbers of talented tenths to conform and demonstrate and "prove" that they are authentically black enough must be enormous. One way they can definitely demonstrate their cred is to listen to approved music that the majority, vaaaasssst majority of blacks listen to (which is of course rap an d hip hop).


Bottom line: Very few white rock musicians TODAY right now 2013 are directly influenced by black music. Why is a fact that is plainly stated so vociferously denied? Why?

Black musicians today are not very much influenced by white music. Most here wouldn't argue that point.

What is it that you can't accept facts as they are? You can't live in 1965 when the calendar says 2013. QED

Anonymous said...

They are being authentically real to themselves and to their own. They dont want nothin' to do with the man's music.

Why is that so hard to understand? Go to any hard rock metal grunge etc show, look at the audience. What do you see?? Nearly 98% white people. Wonder why that is?? Modern rock is as white as Madonna and techno music.


Blacks only like rap. We get it. I'm not sure what you're so upset about.


As an aside, when I was coming up through school, the well educated middle class blacks listened to the same music I listened to, while the lower class blacks were pretty much exclusively into hip hop. We (the middle class) played instruments and talked about music. They (the lower class) didn't play instruments and I think they talked about rappers. . . and they were a lot more concerned about who had more street cred or who was "OG" and that sort of shit. It was definitely a cultural thing.

In my experience (white male, mid-20s), young black males from across the SES spectrum listen almost exclusively to rap these days. The girls may listen to some pop artists as well (mostly "modern R&B" by black artists).

That being said, the other day I read an LA Times sob story about some incompetent but well-meaning ghetto black in over his head at UC Berkeley. His roommate was a lower-middle class black who was relieved to be surrounded by white people so he could finally express his love of punk rock without being called an Oreo.

Anonymous said...

This guy is mostly a troll, but please, the most popular black music is not a secret. Just check out the R&B top 40. It has plenty of rap but also plenty of essentially soul and blues music. Rihanna, Mariah Carey, John Legend -- plenty popular among blacks, not rappers. (The R&B charts also have white artists like Justin Timberlake, Fergie, and Amy Winehouse).

Pop music in general now sucks, across racial lines, but not because blacks only listen to rap.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
This guy is mostly a troll,

Go to hell. We're all trolls since this technically isnt "our" blog. Dipsht



Just check out the R&B top 40. It has plenty of rap but also plenty of essentially soul and blues music.

Soul/blues 2013= isnt our grandfathers soul blues. Today's is R&B. Technicality.


Rihanna, Mariah Carey, John Legend -- plenty popular among blacks, not rappers.

Those have mostly crossed over into pop. Rihanna cant sing very well live anyway she's pop. Top40. Carey's over the hill. Legend appeals mostly to the chicks.

I haven't even mentioned the women vs men music. Stuff that women like that most guys wouldnt be caught dead listening to in public (xcept only for their gfs)


(The R&B charts also have white artists like Justin Timberlake, Fergie, and Amy Winehouse).

Those artists are all Pop. Almost all commercial R&B artists are pop cross overs. A lot of its dreck.



Pop music in general now sucks, across racial lines, but not because blacks only listen to rap.


What's your point? Oh, there isn't one.





Blacks only like rap. We get it. I'm not sure what you're so upset about.


I'm fine. Just funny to observe how so few here want to concede that point. They seem to think its still chuck berry time and that rap isnt the dominant musical genre across board.


Most likely its the oldsters who dont get it.



The girls may listen to some pop artists as well (mostly "modern R&B" by black artists).



modern R&B = commercial pop. If it's on the radio and top40 charts it's pop.

But yeah, fewer and fewer girls even bother with white artists do they? Good point you made.

Anonymous said...

"One of the driving forces of black musical creativity might be that they abandon a form and think of a new one as soon as white people start to get into it."


"ALSO, WHAT GENRE in about 25 yrs since gangsta/hip hop/rap was invented....have black musicians come up with? "

I should probably have said got into *as performers*. White people haven't really taken over rap performing the way they did with past forms - basically because white culture isn't psycho enough for rap.

Anonymous said...

I should probably have said got into *as performers*. White people haven't really taken over rap performing the way they did with past forms - basically because white culture isn't psycho enough for rap.


Eminem though is dominant in rap. Also, society is so fragmented now with various subdivisions and subsets of rock for different types of whites.

Psycho may be the wrong word. That tends to suggest higher IQ or at least efforts attempting in that direction. (e.g. unibomber and oklahoma city bomber had fairly high IQs as to several prominent serial psycho killers) Rap on the other hand, is pretty dumbed down form of music. Sounds samplings with spoken words mostly about the same ol' same ol (getting laid, high, shooting those who've dissed you, going to jail etc) same ol same ol themes over and over.


But again, WHAT form of new music have blacks come up with SINCE rap hip hop etc?

Answer: ZIP

may have to look to Asians or some other ethnics for new artistic creative forms of music.

Black music may have reached its plateau and has peaked as far as inventing new music forms.

Not a troll said...

Well, the troll is wrong about the origin of hip hop. It didn't start in prison and it didn't start with gangs. It started in New York in the 1980's in clubs. It was an underground form that gained popularity slowly.

It wasn't until the 90's that gangsta rap took off, which is unfortunately, when it started to explode in popularity.

Anonymous said...

"Eminem though is dominant in rap."

1) No, he's not.
2) Eminem on his own doesn't constitute white people taking over a musical genre. Also i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't count anyway as he didn't really "whiten" rap. I'm talking about a dozen Vanilla Ices in the charts.

.

"Psycho may be the wrong word."

No, it's just right.

.

"But again, WHAT form of new music have blacks come up with SINCE rap hip hop etc?"

There's no again as your Eminem point was fail so my original point stands.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Eminem though is dominant in rap."

1) No, he's not.

Yes he is. One of the all time biggest sellers in rap, numbers and platinum cds wise. Yes he is. I'm referring to sales. Influence wise he's perhaps limited to white consumers. But he has some a limited amount of street cred among blacks since Dr Dre helped mentor him.




2) Eminem on his own doesn't constitute white people taking over a musical genre.

Never said he was. Never said that. I was giving a prominent example of a white artist dominating )from a commercial way) a genre mainly comprised of blacks and originated by blacks. Commercial sales wise, Eminem's one of the biggest all time selling rap artists. And he does do well among blacks. In some ways, he could be the biggest selling white artist today that blacks would listen to in any significant number.



Also i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't count anyway as he didn't really "whiten" rap.

Agreed. He didnt. He had a dysfunctional childhood and somewhat on the streets though compared to blacks it has been a bit embellished. But rap wise, he does count as fairly authentic rapper. Certainly more than vanilla ice.



I'm talking about a dozen Vanilla Ices in the charts.

I'm not. Eminem's the real deal. He has some street cred with blacks chiefly because he was mentored by Dr Dre and has performed regularly since his MC days with countless numbers of blacks.

One could say that Eminem has more in common with black rappers than anything in common with say...Green Day, Pearl Jam, or Radiohead.

Anonymous said...

"But again, WHAT form of new music have blacks come up with SINCE rap hip hop etc?"

There's no again as your Eminem point was fail so my original point stands.


NO, you didnt answer my point. So I guess I'm right. They haven't invented thought up or come up with any new style of music since rap and hip hop near 30yrs ago. Funny even the Jews haven't been making new noises creativity wise in music. Not like the old days when they were just ripping off blacks. Hmm.

Maybe Asians have something new to offer music style wise.

Anonymous said...

Rap began in Jamaica as part of reggae and came to New York via Jamaican immigrants in the Bronx and Harlem. So ultimately it's the product not of African-Americans but Caribbeans.

Truth said...

"TODAY. RIGHT NOW (in 2013) what percentage of blacks are Beatles fans? Meaning can actually name a huge number of songs and listen to them and...attend MacCartney's shows in US?

ANSWER: ZIP Less than 2% if that."

What percentage of black people are John Coltrane fans, today, right now? I'd say maybe double that. We just don't live in a "Yesterday" culture. (Pun thoroughly intended.)

I don't even know who Macca is, so I agree with you.

"And I didnt even get to groups like Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, etc. Those groups are pure white. No discernible black influence on their music or style or lyrics at all."
They're pure white because after 40
years, you IDENTIFY them as white. "Tom Sawyer" is Rap, lets face it. I'm no music savant, but I would gander that without black influence, white popular music would still sound something like classical. Very little noise or machismo, and extremely treble and melody based.

Anonymous said...

First off, regarding "anonymous," just because someone is full of piss and vinegar, AND disagrees with you, doesn't make him/her a troll. Some of you pull the "troll alarm" so much, it doesn't mean anything anymore.

To "anonymous," I'm the guy who brought up the beatles post '65 selections of black derived music. While I agree black music started turning retarded about the time Mowtown was in it's death throes, I still think many rock artists, when they're drying up creatively, go back to the basics, like most other artists, and the basics can be found in the 8 disc collection of "Atlantic Rhythm & Blues."
You should pony up for it, it's quite a library, divided by 3 year intervals starting in 1947. I think they might even offer a larger collection...

I think anyone who enjoys music should have it. It's quite an education.

Also, you know without that library, and the like, there would be no Elvis. He stole from black folks like a motherfucker. They just had to sit and watch that hillbilly fuck take the best of what they had, and become a superstar.

I'm digressing, tho. Again, I tend to agree with you that blacks ran out of steam, and are just repeating themselves with the swamp-running hillbilly crap they call "hip-hop." To me, it's double-talk slave rhetoric the Uncle Tom's of pop music offer up to the field slaves. It keeps field slaves in the fields, makes money for the master, and they get some of the crumbs.

I also agree that Eminem took the form where blacks couldn't follow him. Rap and mushrooms is a powerful mix. I believe Eminem ran out of steam simply because he couldn't deal with the mushroom and acid marathons required to come up with his albums. He's getting a bit old for that shit. In any case, he took the form into a higher quality of narrative that no other rap artist could approach, because again, they're House Toms. It's not their job to be creative artistically. It's there job to keep the field negroes and their masters happy.

Call me Jake

Steve Sailer said...

My impression was American rap was an offshoot of 1960s-1970s Jamaican "toasting":

http://www.uic.edu/orgs/kbc/hiphop/overview.htm

White guys like me heard about toasting via the The Clash, who were fooling around with Jamaican toaster Mikey Dread at the end of the 1970s. It was understood that toasting had been going on in Jamaica for some times by then.

Here's a pretty ska song, Doors of My Heart, with a toast in the middle of it by The English Beat in 1981:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84prcvTcD5g

The general affect of toasting -- lots of echo effect, dreamy, baked -- is different from rapping, but the theory that New York African-American kids heard about toasting from Jamaicans and modified it into rap seems pretty plausible, although most origins stories, especially the most plausible-sounding, tend to be doubtful.






Anonymous said...

Go to hell. We're all trolls since this technically isnt "our" blog. Dipsht

you specifically are a troll because you keep popping up to repeat the same irrelevant point, at great length (roughly one foot of screen space per comment). Yes, rap is popular today. We get it. This has nothing to do with the 50-70 year great period of American music in which blacks played a huge leadership role. The heritage of that period lives on today even if a lot of people listen to rap.

Pop music in general now sucks, across racial lines, but not because blacks only listen to rap.


What's your point? Oh, there isn't one.


the point is that going on and on about how kids today listen to lousy music is irrelevant to a discussion of the great era of American popular music. Pop music today across the board is far below what it was during the great decades of the 20th century. It's like talking about how Europe never made any contributions to the world musical heritage because you don't like Daft Punk.

Prince has not been relevant since about 1994 but nice try. He's too old. This is after all 2013 and not 1980s. I would almost venture to say that most of Prince's fans today are whites and not blacks who most likely view him as a sell out, Uncle Tom and bendin' over for the Man.

Prince is plenty relevant today. 'Blurred Lines', a monster hit this summer, is basically just a Prince rip off. Also, for someone who is so hep to what the black dudes are into these days, terms like 'Uncle Tom' and 'the Man' are awfully dated.

Anonymous said...

The first New York rappers were children of Jamaican immigrants. What's so hard to believe about the kids of Jamaicans being aware of reggae?

Being from Los Angeles whose Caribbean population is tiny compared to New York's, it's easy to understand why Steve would miss this.

Anonymous said...

"NO, you didnt answer my point. So I guess I'm right. They haven't invented thought up or come up with any new style of music since rap and hip hop near 30yrs ago."

And i said white people haven't taken over rap, which they haven't, unless you count Eminem on his own as "white people" which no-one does except you.

Troll score 2/10, F-

vinteuil said...

@Truth: "without black influence, white popular music would still sound something like classical. Very little noise or machismo, and extremely treble and melody based."

You mean, something like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1I1WMCX0rU

(The greatest black singer of all time performing, brilliantly, what has got to be the WASPiest of all the greatest masterpieces of music in the Western tradition.

My, how awful it would be if "white popular music" sounded more like that, and less like...

vinteuil said...

I'm continually amazed that there are people smart enough to be posting here who are also stupid &/or silly enough to get all excited about the relative merits of this or that popular song, singer, group, genre, etc. It's like listening to a bunch of comic-book addicts who've never read a word of Homer or Shakespeare or Proust debate literature. I mean, c'mon, people: grow up. Music was not invented in the 20th century, and it was not invented in America.

Uncle Peregrine said...

"Personally, I think that the rise in hip hop and other electronic music forms coincides with the decline in music education in public schools. People lost their taste for harmony and melody and now just want to hear rhythm with ugly, jarring lyrics. I think the experience of experience of learning a musical instrument and/or singing in a organized group as a child is VALUABLE formative experience that contributes to brain development and positive social values. It's a shame if you ask me, that we have lost our emphasis on instrumental music education."

Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West made the same point some years ago. I can't find a transcript, but I remember it coming from this talk.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/71062-1