1 Sidney Bechet, Treat It Gentle: An Autobiography (1960; New York: Da Capo,
2 James Baldwin, "Of the Sorrow Songs: The Cross of Redemption," 1979,
The Picador Book of Blues and
ed. James Campbell (London: Picador, 1996)
3 Meinrad Buholzer, "Cecil Taylor: Interview," Cadence Dec. 1984: 6. At first
glance, the word "breath" in Taylor's penultimate sentence appears to
be a misprint for "breadth." However, Taylor's use of "breath" elsewhere
suggests that it may be correct. See, for example, Cecil Taylor, "Sound
Structure of Subculture Becoming Major Breath/Naked Fire Gesture," CD
insert notes to Unit Structures by Cecil Taylor, rec. 1966, Blue Note CDP 7
84237 2, 1987.
4 The "politics of transfiguration" is a phrase used by Paul Gilroy in his
discussion of the "utopian desires" voiced by black music. See Gilroy, The
Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London: Verso, 1993) 37. It
could be argued that Ellington's work inclines more toward what Gilroy
describes as a complementary "politics of fulfilment," but this particular
distinction is not one that I intend to pursue here.
S Duke Ellington, "B!utopia," The Duke Ellington Carnegie Hall Concerts: December
1944 by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, Prestige 2PCD-24073-2, 1991.
(N.B. In referring to recordings, I have tried whenever possible to list the
most recent issue.)
6 Given that this is a book in which I repeatedly criticize white misrep-
resentations of black music, it is a piquant irony that my title requires
what is almost certainly a misreading of its creator's intention. Blue was
Ellington's favorite color, so if "Blutopia" was any more than a piece of
humorous wordplay, it was probably intended to convey the blissful state
described by Don George: "When Duke was surrounded by blue, he knew
that God was in His heaven, all was well with the world." George, The Real
Duke Ellington (London: Robson, 1981) 69. I had not been aware of Elling-
ton's predilection for blue when I first came across "Blmopia."