Jonathan Leal

Sep 14, 2023

Dreams in Double Time

On Race, Freedom, and Bebop

Duke University Press 2023

In Dreams in Double Time: On Race, Freedom, and Bebop (Duke UP, 2023), Jonathan Leal examines how the musical revolution of bebop opened up new futures for racialized and minoritized communities. Blending lyrical nonfiction with transdisciplinary critique and moving beyond standard Black/white binary narratives of jazz history, Leal focuses on the stories and experiences of three musicians and writers of color: James Araki, a Nisei multi-instrumentalist, soldier-translator, and literature and folklore scholar; Raúl Salinas, a Chicano poet, jazz critic, and longtime activist who endured the US carceral system for over a decade; and Harold Wing, an Afro-Chinese American drummer, pianist, and songwriter who performed with bebop pioneers before working as a public servant. Leal foregrounds that for these men and their collaborators, bebop was an affectively and intellectually powerful force that helped them build community and dream new social possibilities. Bebop’s complexity and radicality, Leal contends, made it possible for those like Araki, Salinas, and Wing who grappled daily with state-sanctioned violence to challenge a racially supremacist, imperial nation, all while hearing and making the world anew.

  • "Dreams of Autumn" on Spotify.
  • "Dreams of Autumn on Apple Music.

Nathan Smith is a PhD candidate in Music Theory at Yale University Email:

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