Black Music & the American Surrealists:
A Bibliography

compiled by Ralph Dumain

The best place to acquire these publications is from Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 8901 S Exhange; Chicago, IL 60617, whose affiliate publishing imprint is Black Swan Press (and note listing of publications in 2018). Visit the web site of The Surrealist Movement in the United States. The bibliography below is for information and does not constitute an endorsement of the Chicago surrealists’ position, about which I have mixed feelings. Some of their propaganda about surrealism and black music, such as Garon’s book on the blues, repels me. The issue of surrealism in European and non-black experimental music is another matter and requires another bibliography.


1. Arsenal / Surrealist Subversion, #3, Spring 1976. ed. by Franklin Rosemont. Chicago: Black Swan Press.

a. "The Musician" by Cecil Taylor, p. 12-15.

b. "Black music and the surrealist revolution" by Franklin Rosemont, p. 17-27.

c. "Odawalla" by Joseph Jarman, p. 33.

d. "The Raven Saxophone" by Jean-Jacques Jack Dauben, p. 39.

e. "Joseph Jarman" by Franklin Rosemont, p. 110.

2. Arsenal / Surrealist Subversion [#4], ed. by Franklin Rosemont. Chicago: Black Swan Press, 1989.

a. "Cecil Taylor: initiation into the enchanters' realm" by Thomas Magee, p. 55.

b. "Beyond music" by Hal Rammel, p. 56-57.

c. "Toward a surrealist revolution in music" by Johannes Bergmark, p. 56-57.

d. "Musicking of the spheres" by H.R., p. 98.

e. "Black pearls" by P.G., p. 103.

f. "Bob Marley & the reggae revolution" by Joseph Jablonski, p. 130.

g. "The midnight revolution: surrealism & jazz in New Orleans in the 1950s" by Paul Garon, p. 145-146.

h. "The marvelous freedom of Charles Mingus" by Joseph Jablonski, p. 161.

3. Surrealism & Its Popular Accomplices, ed. by Franklin Rosemont. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1980. [originally special issue of Cultural Correspondence, no. 10-11]

a. "The eye's shadow: surrealism & black music" by Michael Vandelaar, p. 75-79.

b. "Magic & voodoo in the blues" by Paul Garon, p. 80-81.

c. "Swing as surrealist music" by Horace Meyer Kallen, p. 82.

d. "Poetry, jazz & freedom" by Rene Menil, p. 83.


e. "Harry Partch: an 'unheard of' music" by Norman Kaeseberg, p. 84-85.

4. Cultural Correspondence, no. 12-14, Summer 1981: special issue on "Surrealism today & tomorrow".

a. "Crazy music" by R. Crumb, p. 41.

b. "The AACM from the '60s to the 80s" by John Litweiler, p. 50-51.

c. "Ten years of Living Blues" by Amy O'Neal, p. 52.

PLUS articles on country & rock music.

5. Free Spirits: Annals Of The Insurgent Imagination. I / edited by Paul Buhle et al. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1982.

a. "Improvisation in music -- a black's view" by Bill Cole, p. 103-106.

b. "Something to think about" by Ornette Coleman, p. 117-120.

PLUS articles on non-black music:

c. "Conlon Nancarrow" by Charles Amirkhanian, p. 135-136.

d. "Conlon Nancarrow: chronicle of a friendship" by Peter Garland, p. 137-142.

e. "The unsettling scores: in praise of old-time cartoon music" by Davey Williams, p. 143-144.

f. "Dandruff in the longhair of music" [on Spike Jones] by Hal Rammel, p. 202-208. 


 6. Blues & The Poetic Spirit by Paul Garon. New York: Da Capo, 1979.

 7. Living Blues, #25, Jan.-Feb. 1976; special 16-page supplement: "Surrealism & Blues", p. 19-34.

 8. Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues by Paul & Beth Garon. New York: DaCapo, 1992.


9. Kelley, Robin D. G. Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002. See chapter 6: Keepin' It (Sur)real: Dreams of the Marvelous (pp. 157-194).

10. Rosemont, Franklin; Kelley, Robin D.G.; eds. Black, Brown, & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009. (Surrealist Revolution series)

(Compiled 30 June 1993, edited & uploaded 22 October 2001, revised 20 November 2001, 18 March 2003, 29 March 2010, 19 November 2010, 28 November 2014, 2 December 2014, 10 April 2022)
©1993, 2001, 2003, 2010, 2014 Ralph Dumain

Poetry, Jazz & Freedom” by Réne Ménil
(translated by Keith Holloman)

For René Ménil, Caribbean Surrealist-Philosopher (Review)
by R. Dumain

Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe Study Guide

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Uploaded 22 October 2001
Last update (=corrections) 10 April 2022
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