This book traces the story of how early African American and jazz music came to Wales. From Abolitionist collaborations, minstrelsy, ‘weird slave songs’, ragtime, blues, hot music and swing, the story unfolds through women’s emancipation and gender politics, social history and the heritage and culture of Wales.
The stories within its pages will attract not only social and political historians, but feminists, jazz fans, academics interested in African American cultural interchange, and general readers fascinated by the cast of characters who played and danced to the music, despite warnings from the pulpit that degenerate youth were destined for hell and damnation.
‘In Freedom Music, archivist and pianist Jen Wilson embellishes established narratives of Welsh culture with the “blue notes” of transnational, African American and feminist histories. Her explorations of musical influences, the politics of performance practices and the social effects of cultural transference open up new areas of research. This is a wide-ranging, suitably-illustrated and engaging book that documents the cross-cultural and transatlantic dialogues that were the making of modern Wales.’
- Professor Daniel G. Williams, Swansea University
Jen Wilson is a jazz pianist and founder of Jazz Heritage Wales, based at UWTSD Swansea.