In 1995 Samuel A. Floyd Jr. published his benchmark book The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States.1 Appropriately titled, this work was itself powerful. It was heralded by scholars for recognizing and illustrating the connections between African American musical syntax and its African-based roots. The book's framework contributed to pathbreaking scholarship that transcends disciplinary boundaries. Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., one of the coauthors of the book under review, wrote in 1998 that The Power of Black Music “will be considered a definitive study in black musical aesthetics.”2 According to Ramsey, Floyd's influential work demonstrated that music—more importantly, black music—should “be counted among the most powerful and influential achievements of not only American but also Western culture.”3 Floyd's most recent book, The Transformation of Black Music: The Rhythms, the Songs, and the Ships of the African Diaspora, is in...

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