Black music - whether it be jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, or soul - has always expressed, consciously or not, its African "oral" heritage, reflecting conditions of a minority culture in the midst of a white majority. Black Talk is one of the rare books since Leroi Jones's Blues People to examine the social function of black music in the diaspora; it sounds the depths of experience and maps the history of a culture from the jazz age to the revolutionary outbursts of the 1960s. Ben Sidran finds in Buddy Bolden's loud and hoarse cornet style, the call and response between brass and reeds in a swing band, the emotionalism of gospel, the primitivism of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Milford Graves, and the cool ethic of bebop, radical challenges to the Western, white, literary tradition. "The musician is the document," says Sidran. "He is the information itself. The impact of stored information is transmitted not through records or archives, but through the human response to life."