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H@H: Lift Every Voice and Swing
This talk showcases the religious lives of select jazz musicians from the book Lift Every Voice and Swing: Black Musicians and Religious Culture in the Jazz Century (NYU Press, 2020). Winner of the 2022 Arlt Award in the Humanities and finalist for the American Academy of Religion’s 2021 Religion and the Arts Book Award, Lift Every Voice and Swing argues that with the emergence of new race representatives in jazz, religious authority for African Americans found a place and spokespeople in popular culture beyond traditional Afro-Protestant institutions and religious life. With unconventional archives, this book examines jazz musicians’ expressions of belief, practice, and unconventional positions of religious authority. It demonstrates that these jazz professionals enacted theological beliefs and religious practices that echoed, contested with, and diverged from the predominant African American religious culture. The lives and work of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mary Lou Williams anchor this book’s narrative of racial and religious representations as well as of religious beliefs and practices. Through these Black jazz women and men, the book illuminates the significant Black religious and cultural presence that informed, surrounded, and opposed their professional and personal lives while also contributing significantly to their artistry.

Feb 17, 2023 05:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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