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Who Can Afford to Improvise?

Who Can Afford to Improvise?

Ed Pavlic

Fordham University Press

2546 Belmont Avenue

University Box L, Bronx, NY 10458-5172

www.fordhampress.com

9780823268481, $29.95, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924--December 1, 1987) was an African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. More than a quarter-century after his death, James Baldwin remains an unparalleled figure in American literature and African American cultural politics. In "Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners", Ed Pavlic (Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia) offers an unconventional, lyrical, and accessible meditation on the life, writings, and legacy of James Baldwin and their relationship to the lyric tradition in black music, from gospel and blues to jazz and R&B. Based on unprecedented access to private correspondence and unpublished manuscripts and attuned to a musically inclined poet's skill in close listening, "Who Can Afford to Improvise?" frames a new narrative of James Baldwin's work and life.

Critique: A seminal work of stellar scholarship based upon exhaustive research, "Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners" is an essential study with respect to the life, accomplishments, and enduring influence of James Baldwin on a variety of American popular music forms. Enhanced with twenty-six pages of Notes, a six page Bibliography, and a twenty-three page Index, "Who Can Afford to Improvise?" is strongly recommended for both community and academic library American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Who Can Afford to Improvise?" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Jack Mason

Reviewer

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Author:Mason, Jack
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:277
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