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Where the Dark and the Light Folk Meet
Randall Sanke here attempts to answer perhaps the most pertinent question in jazz history – was it just a black thing or a black and white thing? More to the point, he compares jazz at root level to the form within its fully functional sphere of business and politics – in full swing, if you will. It’s a touchy subject for many. Especially for purists, who believe that white folks should have stuck to their day jobs in the first place. Sanke talks at base level on an important subject which has been branded a ‘necessary’ one. This isn’t far wrong, and the author objectifies what could so easily been personalised, as he savours the moments of black and white history, applauds those in search of the abolishment of segregation, and dispels many a myth in the process. He bravely positions certain white artists continuing to play jazz against heavy criticism, as doing so in tribute for the form taught them by African Americans; when it is so easy to include this matter exclusively in the struggle of the black artists. Those who did subscribe to segregation in their bands and their lives, we should quite rightly be informed of, but the positive togetherness of the dark- and light-skinned players is arguably more important and more constructive when jazz is looked at from a viewpoint concerned with far more than just jazz. This book looks through that lens, and its plain writing on a complex subject offers an elevated level of further debate. Let the conversation be risen to.