In Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond
(Wayne State University Press, 2016), M. L. Liebler
curates an exhaustive collection of essays about Detroit music by a diverse group of music scholars, journalists, and musicians. Instead of relying on familiar narratives about Motown and rock and roll, this anthology engages a vast array of musical genres and sub-genres, while sharing the oft-surprising hidden histories of artists, institutions, and communities integral to Detroit’s unique sound. Heaven Was Detroit
begins with former California Poet Laureate Al Young’s meditation on his childhood obsession with early to mid-20th-century Detroit jazz and ends with an essay by Jarrett Koral about Jett Plastic Recordings, the 21st-century vinyl-only record label he runs out of his parents’ basement. In between are a mix of new and classic essays about Detroit jazz, blues, pre-Motown soul, Motown, rock, hip-hop, techno, and more.
holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, and she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Her book, Fade to Black: Blues Music and the Art of Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White
, is under contract with the University of Massachusetts Press. She is also a music journalist who has written articles and reviews for national and international publications, including Music Connection
, Village Voice
, and Hot Press