Cover image for California soul : music of African Americans in the West
California soul : music of African Americans in the West
DjeDje, Jacqueline Cogdell.
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 507 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Music in an urban environment -- Music and the media -- The musician as innovator -- Source materials.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3479 .C37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This new series, co-sponsored with The Center for Black Music Research of Columbia College, seeks to increase our understanding of black music genres and their importance to the cultures of the Atlantic world, including their influence on African musical styles. Books in the series will examine the wide-ranging music of the African diaspora--including the folk-derived musical styles of the Americas as well as European-influenced concert hall music of the entire black Atlantic world--by analyzing issues critical to our interpretation of the music itself and exploring the relationships between music and the other black expressive arts.

Focusing on blues, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, and soul music, California Soul is one of the first books to explore the rich musical heritage of African Americans in California. The contributors describe in detail the individual artists, locales, groups, musical styles, and regional qualities, and the result is an important book that lays the groundwork for a whole new field of study. The essays draw from oral histories, music recordings, newspaper articles and advertisements, as well as population statistics to provide insightful discussions of topics like the California urban milieu's influence on gospel music, the development of the West Coast blues style, and the significance of Los Angeles's Central Avenue in the early days of jazz. Other essays offer perspectives on how individual musicians have been shaped by their African American heritage, and on the role of the record industry and radio in the making of music. In addition to the diverse range of essays, the book includes the most comprehensive bibliography now available on African American music and culture in California.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of numerous monographs and articles on African and African American music and is editor of volumes 1 and 2 of African Musicology: Current Trends (1989, 1992). Eddie S. Meadows is Professor of Music at San Diego State University and the author of several jazz reference books, including Jazz Research and Performance Materials: A Selected Annotated Bibliography (1995).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The arts have had a richer history in 20th-century California than the "cultural desert" stereotype of the last many decades suggests. This is certainly true of African American music. A collection of scholarly essays with extensive footnotes and detailed resource information, this volume explores this long-neglected subject. It follows the University of California Press's Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, ed. by Clora Bryant et al. (CH, Jul'98), which is more limited in scope but broader in appeal to general readers. California Soul covers a wide range of musical expression, from jazz and blues to gospel and rhythm and blues. All 12 contributors write about relatively unexplored territory in African American music and provide some excellent insights and resources for serious students. However, the formal, stiff writing styles will turn away most general readers, and the topics are so diverse that even interested readers will probably be quite selective. Information is included on personal histories, musical styles, geographical histories, media developments, and social/cultural impacts. A treasure trove of information, this collection of essays belongs in every academic library supporting African American music and cultural studies, as well as music in general. C. M. Weisenberg; University of California, Los Angeles