Striking visual account of jazz in the 1960s and 1970s
In this engaging hybrid work—a blend of oral history and graphic novel—Stephen Farina finds “Juma Sultan” in a local phonebook. After an initial meeting at a roadside diner, Juma takes Steve and a fellow researcher to a decrepit barn, which, amazingly, contains a treasure trove of reel-to-reel audio tapes and 16mm films of jam sessions and jazz performances from the 1960s and 1970s. As the men go through the boxes and begin the painstaking process of preservation, Juma recalls the players, places, and time period when free jazz exploded then fused with the political momentum of the Civil Rights era. This true story documents “The Aboriginal Music Society” Archival Project, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Available exclusively as an e-publication, Reel History’s expressive and glowing black-and-white illustrations are augmented by audio clips and haunting silent video from Juma Sultan’s unique archive. This is an invaluable history for jazz historians and readers in the digital age.
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Reviews / Endorsements
“Placing the story of Juma Sultan’s lost tapes and career into the context of the cultural archetype of ‘lost music,’ Farina imparts to his own vision quest a universal significance that readers will find fascinating.”—Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz
STEPHEN FARINA is the chair of the Communication & Media Department of Clarkson University. He is the author of several works of nonfiction, including The Grid and the Village and The Wired Neighborhood.
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