Songs of the Unsung: The Musical and Social Journey of Horace Tapscott

Songs of the Unsung: The Musical and Social Journey of Horace Tapscott

By: Horace Tapscott (author), Steven Isoardi (editor), William Maxwell (contributor)Hardback

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Songs of the Unsung is the autobiography of Los Angeles jazz musician and activist Horace Tapscott (1934-1999). A pianist who ardently believed in the power of music to connect people, Tapscott was a beloved and influential character who touched many yet has remained unknown to the majority of Americans. In addition to being "his" story, Songs of the Unsung is the story of Los Angeles's cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century, of the origins of many of the most important avant-garde musicians still on the scene today, and of a rich and varied body of music. Tapscott's narrative covers his early life in segregated Houston, his move to California in 1943, life as a player in the Air Force band in the early fifties, and his travels with the Lionel Hampton Band. He reflects on how the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (the "Ark"), an organization he founded in 1961 to preserve and spread African and African-American music, eventually became the Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension-a group that not only performed musically but was active in the civil rights movement, youth education, and community programs. Songs of the Unsung also includes Tapscott's vivid descriptions of the Watts neighborhood insurrection of 1965 and the L.A. upheavals of 1992, interactions with both the Black Panthers and the L.A.P.D., his involvement in Motown's West Coast scene, the growth of his musical reputation abroad, and stories about many of his musician-activist friends, including Billy Higgins, Don Cherry, Buddy Collette, Arthur Blythe, Lawrence and Wilber Morris, Linda Hill, Elaine Brown, Stanley Crouch, and Sun Ra. With a foreword by Steven Isoardi, a brief introduction by actor William Marshall, a full discography of Tapscott's recordings, and many fine photographs, Songs of the Unsung is the inspiring story of one of America's most unassuming twentieth-century heroes.

About Author

Horace Tapscott -a pianist, trombonist, and composer whose unique approach to avant-garde jazz earned him legendary status-was also a leader and organizer who dedicated himself for many years to raising his community through the arts. Born in Houston and a veteran of the United States Air Force, Tapscott taught and guided hundreds of Los Angeles youths. Steven L. Isoardi, along with Tapscott and six others, coedited Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles. He also edited Buddy Collette's autobiography, Jazz Generations, and produced the 4-CD Rhino Records set Central Avenue Sounds.


Acknowledgments Foreword / Steven Isoardi Introduction / William Marshall Photographs compiled by Michael Dett Wilcots 1. Early Years in Houston 2. California 3. Setting the Pace 4. Central Avenue 5. Military Service 6. On the Road with Lionel Hampton 7. To Preserve and Develop Black Culture 8. The Fire This Time 9. In the Middle of It 10. Stayin' Alive 11. The Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension 12. Settling into the Community 13. Movements to the Present 14. Reflections and Directions Postscript: From the Funeral Service "For Cecilia" by Horace Tapscott "PAPA, The Lean Griot" by Kamau Daaood Appendix: A Partial List of UGMAA Artists, 1961-1998 Discography I: Horace Tapscott Discography II: Music from the Ark Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780822325314
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • ID: 9780822325314
  • weight: 862
  • ISBN10: 0822325314

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