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The Black Chord.

The Black Chord by Vivien Goldman and David Corio Universe/Rizzoli Publications, 1999, $45.00, ISBN 0-789-30375-2.

The ties that bind jazz, R&B, rap, salsa or reggae to the ancestral anthems of Africa is the main theme of The Black Chord, an eloquently written, all--encompassing Diasporic literary and photographic retrospective by Vivien Goldman and David Corin.

Along with Isaac Hayes' heartfelt foreword, Ms. Goldman--a journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and the Daily Telegraph--writes, "the African seed of sound was transplanted everywhere, always expressing a unique situation and sensibility." Photographer David Corio's 200 stunning black-and-white shots range from the cerebral cool of Miles Davis to the celebratory toasts of Mutabaruka.

The Black Chord is divided into four chapters. In "Roots and Culture," Bobby McFerrin, Baaba Mal, Trinidad's steel pan players, Cuban congueros and Trinidadian steel pan players connect the drum and the voice to the ancestors. In "Heart & Soul" the longings of love are beautifully portrayed in the moods and grooves of Sade, the artist formerly known as Prince, Marvin Gaye and Brandy. "Revolution" showcases the power of Fela Kuti's gaze and raised fists, Bob Marley's Rastafarian rhythms and The Fugees' daring fusion of hip-hop with Haitian and other Caribbean beats. "Explorers" is a shout-out to pioneers like the Afroaerodynamic Grace Jones, the metal-toothed RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, and the supreme trickster George Clinton. These musical visionaries are just a partial list of what Corio captures in rare form.

Goldman's poignant, spare prose and Corio's vibrant visuals display the complex diversity of the music of the Pan-African world, and overall, make this an appealing work.

Eugene Holley, Jr. is a music writer and frequent contributor to BIBR, and resides in New York City.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Holley, Eugene Jr.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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