This thread may get offensive really quickly, and I do not intend to offend any African-Americans with the following statement. While doing some research for a paper on Scott LaFaro that I'm writing for my history of jazz class, I ran across a citation for a book by a gentleman named Ortiz Walton, entitled Music: Black, White, and Blue. On page 168, there is a chart comparing "Black Sources" to "White Imitators." Now, some of these are quite obvious: Stan Getz spent much of his early career aping Lester Young, Chet Baker copped many a lick from Miles Davis, and probably the majority of white musicians who ever touched an alto saxophone copied Charlie Parker at some point or another in their careers. (In the case of Bird, however, most black altoists ripped him off, too.) However, Walton makes the claim that LaFaro, Steve Swallow, Charlie Haden, and David Izenson were mere imitators of Jimmy Blanton and Charles Mingus. This is difficult to swallow and begs the question: had Walton actually listened to any of the music made by any of the six men he mentioned? To say that LaFaro, in particular, was a Mingus copycat--especially given that a few pages earlier, Walton quotes LaFaro as stating that Percy Heath and Paul Chambers, who were very different players from Mingus, as his primary influences--demonstrates either insufficient aesthetic sophistication or outright intellectual dishonesty. Now, this was written in 1972, at the height of the Black Power movement, and academic standards were probably relegated to secondary status in favor of Getting Out The Message. However, when one reads things like the infamous JazzTimes diatribe by Stanley Crouch in which he claims that LaFaro didn't swing, or when Steve Coleman claims at a panel this year that he can hear the differences between white and black players (in front of Nat Hentoff, who showed the foolishness of Roy Eldridge's similar belief in an infamous Down Beat Blindfold Test 40 years ago), it's clear that these attitudes persist today. The dominance of the postmodernist doctrine of "emotional truth"--damn the details, I've got a Message!--no doubt inspires much of these notions. If my Africana Studies-major next door neighbor is any yardstick, much of what comes out of black cultural studies departments is of dubious provenance, and is only tolerated because to attempt to counter it would be akin to throwing pebbles at a hornets' nest. (This is racist in and of itself, IMO: when universities allow black crackpots to thrive, legitimate black academics are squeezed out of highly-sought faculty positions.) It is definitely true that there is a clear pattern of appropriation by the white music industry of black music. But why stretch the truth to prove something so obvious? I refuse to give into Guilty White Liberal Syndrome and allow the contributions of genuinely innovative white musicians to be denigrated for the sake of Afrocentrism. Any thoughts?