Music Now is an informal forum series for Brown’s community of composers and music scholars. This week’s guest is Michael Veal. These talks are free and open to the public.
About this talk
“Look for the Black Star: Dogon in the Jazz Imaginary”
Because of their unique cosmology and geographic location, the Dogon people of Central Mali have long fascinated Western scholars and cultural anthropologists. Less-known is their impact on experimental jazz musicians of the 1960s and 1970s. This talk will examine the stream of what might be called “Dogon jazz,” situating works by artists such as Julius Hemphill, Dewey Redman and The Art Ensemble of Chicago within broader currents of pan-Africanism, the Space Race, and jazz experimentalism.
About Michael Veal
Michael E. Veal has been a member of the Yale University faculty since 1998. Before coming to Yale, he taught at Mount Holyoke College (1996 – 1998) and New York University (1997-1998). Veal’s work has typically addressed musical topics within the cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora. His 2000 biography of the Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti uses the life and music of this influential African musician explore themes of African post-coloniality, the political uses of music in Africa, and musical and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. His documentation of the “Afrobeat” genre continued with the 2013 as-told-to autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat. Professor Veal’s 2007 study of Jamaican dub music examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers during the 1970s transformed the structure and concept of the post-WWII popular song, and examines sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical and political themes. His forthcoming book Wait Until Tomorrow surveys under-documented periods in the careers of John Coltrane and Miles Davis that encapsulate the stylistic interventions of “free jazz” and “jazz-rock fusion,” and draws on the language of digital architecture in order to suggest new directions for jazz analysis.