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The Cricket: Black Music in Evolution, 1968–69

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A rare document of the 1960s Black Arts Movement featuring Albert Ayler, Amiri Baraka, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and many more, The Cricket fostered critical and political dialogue for Black musicians and writers

Edited by poets and writers Amiri Baraka, A.B. Spellman and Larry Neal between 1968 and 1969, and published by Baraka’s New Jersey–based JIHAD productions around the time of the Newark Riots, this experimental music magazine ran poetry, position papers and gossip alongside concert and record reviews and essays on music and politics. Over four mimeographed issues, The Cricket laid out an anticommercial ideology and took aim at the conservative jazz press, providing a space for critics, poets and journalists (including Stanley Crouch, Haki Madhubuti, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez and Keorapetse Kgositsile) and musicians (including Cecil Taylor, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Mtume, Albert Ayler and Black Unity Trio) to devise new styles of music writing. The publication emerged from the heart of a political movement―“a proto-ideology, akin to but younger than the Garveyite movement and the separatism of Elijah Mohammed,” as Spellman writes in the book’s preface―and aimed to reunite advanced art with its community, “to provide Black Music with a powerful historical and critical tool” and to enable avant-garde Black musicians and writers “to finally make a way for themselves.” This publication gathers all issues of the magazine with an introduction by poet and scholar David Grundy.

Contributors include: A.B. Spellman, Imamu Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Larry Neal, Cecil Taylor, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Ben Caldwell, Clyde Halisi, Don L. Lee (Haki R. Madhubuti), Duncan Barber, Gaston Neal, Hilary Broadus, James Stewart, Norman Jordan, Roger Riggins, Ronnie Gross, Stanley Crouch, Albert Ayler, Askia Muhammed Toure, Donald Stone, E. Hill, Haasan Oqwiendha Fum al Hut, Ibn Pori 'det, Ishmael Reed, Joe Goncalves, Larry A. Miller (Katibu), Sonia Sanchez, Willie Kgositsile, Billy (Fundi) Abernathy, Dan Dawson and Black Unity Trio.