My original and most crucial debt of gratitude is
the members of the
School of American and Canadian Studies at Nottingham University
who gave me the opportunity and the funds to carry out the research
that led to this book. I would like, first and foremost, to thank my
supervisor, David Murray, both for his astute and helpful criticisms of
the manuscript and for support and generosity well beyond the call of
duty. Had he not "taken a chance on chance" and agreed to supervise
my research - on a topic (black music history) that is still not regarded
in the UK as a necessary component of American Studies programs-
then this book never would have been written. I am also indebted
to members of the School's regular work-in-progress seminars and,
in particular, to Richard King and Peter Ling for their comments on
earlier drafts of this material.
I am, of course, immensely grateful to the many musicians who
have taken the time to share their knowledge with me over the years.
Chief among those who have had a direct influence on this book are
Sun Ra, whom
was lucky enough to interview twice at length, and
several members of his Arkestra (particularly Marshall Allen, John
Gilmore, and Tyrone Hill) plus Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser, and
Gerry Hemingway from the Anthony Braxton Quartet. I would like to
say a special thank you to Anthony Braxton, who graciously consented
to several new interviews to supplement those I had conducted with
him in the 1980s and who also made available a wealth of unpublished
material, including librettos, scores, and private concert recordings.
He and his family invited me to visit them, too, a favor I repaid by
promptly falling ill and groaning on their couch for several days. My
meetings with Messrs Braxton and Ra have proved defining points in
my life, and their music continues to proVide many of its most joyful
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