At a time when many white Europeans and Americans dismissed the artistry of African-American music, Dutch art professor Hans Rookmaaker wrote in praise of its merits. This musical history explores the development of jazz, blues, spirituals, and gospel music from its earliest days until the 1950s—describing, as Dr. Rookmaaker understood them, the origins, rationale, and interplay of diverse new genres.
This new edition features a preface by William Edgar, an accomplished jazz pianist and a professor at Westminster Seminary.
“The fundamental admiration of African American creativity shining through oppression is Rookmaaker’s view woven through every paragraph of this research. Though written in 1960, this is an example that the twenty-first-century educated musician should follow.”
—James Ward, Recording Artist, Singer-Songwriter
“A robust and diverse contribution to the world of music comes out of the Black experience in America. . . . Hans Rookmaaker gives us this American story through the lens of God’s work among a people. We are brought into the beauty that springs out of joy and sorrow intimately tied to a hope rooted in God.”
—Irwyn L. Ince, Director, GraceDC Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission
“Hans Rookmaker is a fascinating man who played an important role in the development of a neo-Calvinist vision of the arts. Now that it is available once again, may this volume remind a generation of Christians that no musical form is neutral or without meaning. May it stimulate further work across a variety of musical genres.”
—Mark P. Ryan, Director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, Adjunct Professor of Religion and Culture, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis