Jazz: Orphan of Africa
Editions Payot & Rivages
Going against most accepted views on the origins of jazz, René Langel argues that jazz does not trace its roots to Africa, but to the prevailing culture that diverse African peoples encountered during their beginnings in this country. That culture, in turn, with musical influences as diverse as the military fanfare of French soldiers in Louisiana, white traveling minstrels, black slave songs, the sounds of protestant religious fervor, and even Native American dance, would have set the backdrop for the arrival of jazz. With great technical prowess, Langel explores the sounds and rhythms that make up the many forms of jazz we know today, and shows that there are no equivalents in traditional African music. Sure to be controversial, this is a valuable contribution to the history of jazz.
René Langel : René Langel is the co-founder of the world-renowned Montreux Festival and is the former editor-in-chief of Hot Review, the first post-war French publication devoted to jazz.