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West African Music in the Music of Art Blakey, Yusef Lateef, and Randy Weston

Squinobal, Jason John (2009) West African Music in the Music of Art Blakey, Yusef Lateef, and Randy Weston. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This Dissertation is a historical study of the cultural, social and musical influences that have led to the use of West African music in the compositions and performance of Art Blakey, Yusef Lateef, and Randy Weston. Many jazz musicians have utilized West African music in their musical compositions. Blakey, Lateef and Weston were not the first musicians to do so, however they were chosen for this dissertation because their experiences, influences, and music clearly illustrate the importance that West African culture has played in the lives of African American jazz musicians. Born during the Harlem Renaissance each of these musicians was influenced by the political views and concepts that dominated African American culture at that time. Imperative among those influences were the concept of pan-Africanism, the writings of Marcus Garvey and the music of Duke Ellington. Additionally, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke and Dizzy Gillespie three of the most important contributors to the bebop revolution made great impressions on Blakey, Lateef, and Weston. All three musicians traveled to West Africa, and while each visited Africa for different reasons, all three were greatly influenced by the music they heard and the musicians they interacted with. All of these influences led to significant use of West African music in the works of Blakey, Lateef and Weston.Blakey, Weston, and Lateef became professional musicians in their own rights during a period of intense civil rights activities in the United States. Civil Rights activism along with the liberation of African Nations inspired compositions and performances by these three musicians that incorporated elements of West African music with jazz. Through these activities Blakey, Weston, and Lateef were able to provide artistic commentary on the strides being made for the civil rights of both Africans and African Americans.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Squinobal, Jason Johnjjs75@pitt.eduJJS75
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDavis, Nathan Tndavis@pitt.eduNDAVIS
Committee MemberEuba, Akinaeuba@pitt.eduAEUBA
Committee MemberMoe, Ericemoe@pitt.eduEMOE
Committee MemberAdjaye, Joseph Kjadjaye@pitt.eduJADJAYE
Date: 25 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 April 2009
Approval Date: 25 June 2009
Submission Date: 20 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: African American; African Diaspora; Composition; Improvisation; Jazz; Music; Pan-Africanism; West Africa
Other ID:, etd-04202009-094959
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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