top of page
New Mexico Jazz Festival: Conversation with Willard Jenkins and AB Spellman
New Mexico Jazz Festival: Conversation with Willard Jenkins and AB Spellman

Fri, Sep 15


Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse

New Mexico Jazz Festival: Conversation with Willard Jenkins and AB Spellman

The conversation will focus on the book, Ain’t But a Few of Us: Black Music Writers Tell Their Story, which Mr. Jenkins edited and to which Mr. Spellman contributed.

Date, Time & Location

Sep 15, 2023, 5:30 PM MDT

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

This will be an in-store presentation in collaboration with the 17th Annual New Mexico Jazz Festival presented by Outpost Performance Space and The Lensic Performing Arts Center. The conversation will be live streamed to Zoom, register here.

"With more than two dozen thoughtful profiles, this is a fascinating dive into the sociopolitical realities of being a Black writer—in this case, Black writers who love jazz and express that love in vivid prose. . . . A memorable love letter to Black art, Black joy, and the writers who have sought to tell it like it really is."Kirkus Reviews

Despite the fact that most of jazz’s major innovators and performers have been African American, the overwhelming majority of jazz journalists, critics, and authors have been and continue to be white men. No major mainstream jazz publication has ever had a black editor or publisher. Ain’t But a Few of Us presents over two dozen candid dialogues with black jazz critics and journalists ranging from Greg Tate, Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Robin D. G. Kelley to Tammy Kernodle, Ron Welburn, and John Murph. They discuss the obstacles to access for black jazz journalists, outline how they contend with the world of jazz writing dominated by white men, and point out that these racial disparities are not confined to jazz but hamper their efforts at writing about other music genres as well. Ain’t But a Few of Us also includes an anthology section, which reprints classic essays and articles from black writers and musicians such as LeRoi Jones, Archie Shepp, A. B. Spellman, and Herbie Nichols.  Contributors to Ain't But the Few of Us Eric Arnold, Bridget Arnwine, Angelika Beener, Playthell Benjamin, Herb Boyd, Bill Brower, Jo Ann Cheatham, Karen Chilton, Janine Coveney, Marc Crawford, Stanley Crouch, Anthony Dean-Harris, Jordannah Elizabeth, Lofton Emenari III, Bill Francis, Barbara Gardner, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Jim Harrison, Eugene Holley Jr., Haybert Houston, Robin James, Willard Jenkins, Martin Johnson, LeRoi Jones, Robin D. G. Kelley, Tammy Kernodle, Steve Monroe, Rahsaan Clark Morris, John Murph, Herbie Nichols, Don Palmer, Bill Quinn, Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr., Ron Scott, Gene Seymour, Archie Shepp, Wayne Shorter, A. B. Spellman, Rex Stewart, Greg Tate, Billy Taylor, Greg Thomas, Robin Washington, Ron Welburn, Hollie West, K. Leander Williams, Ron Wynn

About the Speakers

Willard Jenkins is the Artistic Director of the DC Jazz Festival as well as an arts consultant, producer, educator, and print and broadcast journalist. His writing has been featured in JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazz Forum, Jazzwise, and many other publications. He is the coauthor of African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, also published by Duke University Press. He is the writer of the multipart Billie Holiday documentary podcast No Regrets.

A.B. Spellman is a poet, writer, music critic and music historian. From 1975 to 2005, he worked for the National Endowment of the Arts and his service to the organization is honored by the A.B. Spellman Award for jazz advocacy. Spellman published his first book of poems, "The Beautiful Days," in 1964 while working as a jazz music reviewer. His poetry and political essays have been featured in Rhythm Magazine and he has lectured at Morehouse College, Emory University, Rutgers and Harvard University. His full-length collection of poetry, "Things I Must Have Known" , received a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award honorable mention and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work in poetry.

Share This Event

bottom of page