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An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians

Benjamin Franklin V

A comprehensive guide to the men and women who contributed to and defined these musical genres in South Carolina

In An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, Benjamin Franklin V documents the careers of South Carolina jazz and blues musicians from the nineteenth century to the present. The musicians range from the renowned (James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie), to the notable (Freddie Green, Josh White), to the largely forgotten (Fud Livingston, Josie Miles), to the obscure (Lottie Frost Hightower, Horace "Spoons" Williams), to the unknown (Vince Arnold, Johnny Wilson).

Though the term "jazz" is commonly understood, if difficult to define, "blues" has evolved over time to include rhythm and blues, doo-wop, and soul music. Performers in these genres are represented, as are members of the Jenkins Orphanage bands of Charleston. The volume also treats nineteenth-century musicians who performed what might be called proto-jazz or proto-blues in string bands, medicine shows, vaudeville, and the like.

Organized alphabetically, from Johnny Acey to Webster Young, the book's entries include basic biographical information, South Carolina residences, career details, compositions, recordings as leaders and as band members, films, awards, Web sites, and lists of resources for additional reading. Franklin has ensured biographical accuracy to the greatest degree possible by consulting such sources as the census, military registers, passport applications, and other public documents including, when law permitted, death certificates. Information in these records enabled him to dispel myths and correct misinformation surrounding South Carolina's musical history for generations.

Benjamin Franklin V is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of South Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. from Ohio University and is the author of several books including The Other John Adams, 1705–1740; The Portable Anaïs Nin; and Jazz and Blues Musicians of South Carolina: Interviews with Jabbo, Dizzy, Drink, and Others published by the University of South Carolina Press. Franklin hosted the program Jazz in Retrospect on the South Carolina Educational Radio Network and National Public Radio from 1977 until 1992.

"The entries range from a few lines to almost 3 pages and the amount of research that clearly went into this is remarkable. One would think this is the work of a lifetime. I think of myself pretty well versed in jazz history yet probably at least half of the entries in the book are new to me and even with familiar names there is new information. Franklin has produced a masterful piece of research and an essential reference work."—Cadence: The Independent Journal of Creative Improvised Music (Robert D. Rusch)

"Meticulously researched and clearly written, with useful biographies of South Carolina musicians including James Brown, Bubber Miley, Jabbo and Clara Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, this book should be a model and a resource for jazz researchers everywhere. Using difficult-to-access public sources, Franklin corrects the birth dates of Rufus Jones, Arthur Prysock, and Willie Smith, and creates credible biographies of even the most obscure musicians. An impressive contribution to jazz history and surprisingly good reading."—Michael Ullman, author of Jazz Lives

"This study is comprehensively thorough. The same succinct format is followed; biographical history, recordings and—most impressively—secondary references for further reading. These are matchless. Bluesman, Henry Johnson, whom I helped first locate over forty years ago, is covered to a degree that I could never have produced. This careful and sympathetic research is applied to all. Exemplary."—Bruce Bastin, author of Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast

"This groundbreaking encyclopedia by Benjamin Franklin V is paramount. It illuminates not only the critical relevance South Carolina has in the history of jazz and blues, but also the insights and information, through detailed research, that elucidates South Carolina as a profoundly crucial puzzle piece alongside New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City and New York."—Harry Skoler, professor, Berklee College of Music

 
 

 


 

MUSIC | SOUTH CAROLINA
(2016)
7 x 10
312 pages
88 b&w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-61117-621-6
hardcover, $49.99s
ISBN 978-1-61117-622-3
ebook, $29.99t
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