Nothing but the Music Documentaries from Nightclubs, Lofts, Dance Halls & a Tailor’s Shop in Dakar

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By Thulani Davis. Foreword by Jessica Hagedorn. Introduction by Tobi Haslett.

Thulani Davis’ synesthetic documentary poems breathe impressionistic life into the sonic-social history of East Coast avant-garde jazz, soul and punk

Written between 1974 and 1985, these are Davis’ most anthologized works. Featured musicians and dancers include Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bad Brains, Henry Threadgill, Thelonious Monk, the Revolutionary Ensemble, the Commodores, Ishmael Houston-Jones and many more, in performances at historic venues such as the Five Spot, the Village Vanguard and the Apollo.

Nothing but the Music is further proof of Davis’ place as a crucial figure, alongside poets Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez and Ntozake Shange, in the cultural landscape surrounding the Black Arts Movement.

Thulani Davis (born 1949) is the author of the novels 1959 and Maker of Saints, several works of poetry and the forthcoming book The Emancipation Circuit: Black Activism Forging a Culture of Freedom (Duke University Press). She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin.