Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Eubie Blake, Al Rose has provided three texts: a history of twentieth century American popular music, a readable biography, and a documentation of the treatment of African-American entertainers in the United States. The book incorporates Rose’s personal relationship with Blake, drawing on transcribed as well as remembered conversations and experiences. Published in 1979, the biography looks at the personal life as well as the milieu of a musician whose influence on twentieth century popular music is inestimable.

Rose’s book begins with three prefatory passages. Then, in fourteen chapters and in chronological order, he proceeds to present a biography incorporating the most famous musical names of the twentieth century. Rose’s narration relies heavily on quoted materials from Blake himself. Because Blake was alive and active at the time that the book was written, and because Rose and Blake were friends of long standing, the book is essentially a record of extensive conversations and shared experiences. The copyright, in fact, is in both names. Twenty pages of photographs add a dimension of visual interest and include Blake’s parents and wives as well as views from various stages of his career. The last thirty pages of the book demonstrate Blake’s artistic productivity with a selected list of compositions, a discography, a filmography, and a “piano rollography.”

Eubie Blake presents nine and one-half decades of...

(The entire section is 492 words.)