For the jazz and blues buffs among us, Val Wilmer’s classic 1977 book on black Americans in jazz ‘As Serious As Your Life’ is getting a new edition on March 1 through Serpent’s Tail. As far as I can tell, it’s had four covers and three subtitles in its time, the original subtitle being ‘The Story of the New Jazz’, then (in 1999) ‘John Coltrane and Beyond’, and now ‘Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution 1957-77’. The new cover – a rather austere presentation, given the font and layout – is an adaptation of the original cover pic. Richard Williams provides a new foreword.
‘In this classic account of the new black music of the 1960s and 70s, celebrated photographer and jazz historian Val Wilmer tells the story of how a generation of revolutionary musicians established black music as the true vanguard of American culture.
Placing the achievements of African-American artists such as Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sun Ra in their broader political and social context, Wilmer evokes an era of extraordinary innovation and experimentation that continues to inspire musicians today.
As vital now as when it was first published in 1977, As Serious As Your Life is the essential story of one of the most dynamic musical movements of the twentieth century.’
And… on March 4, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new documentary, ‘A Portrait of Val Wilmer’. Val has a tie-in piece in ‘Jazzwise’ and both Mojo and The Wire might be running pieces too.
Just thought I’d let you know…