Catalan, N. C. (2022). By Myself: The Life, Music and Solo Music of Abdul Wadud. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2526
In 1977, cellist and composer Abdul Wadud released the first full LP of unaccompanied “jazz” cello music, entitled By Myself. A true pioneer of his instrument, Wadud still serves as an important inspiration to cellists and musicians even after stepping away from performing publicly back in the 1990s. Wadud’s pieces reflect every aspect of his musical background, demonstrating his mastery of European Art repertoire and role within the New Jersey Symphony, his participation in more traditional jazz ensembles during his high school years, his involvement in Broadway shows and top 40-oriented recording dates, and his partnerships with Creative musicians like Julius Hemphill and James Newton. By Myself reveals Wadud’s synthesis of these styles into a personal statement, augmented by a series of techniques and motifs that help the cello travel across the full frequency spectrum. However, while By Myself might sound wholly unique to a first-time listener, the recording exists as part of a longer lineage of Creative Music developed by Midwestern African-American composers and performers in the early second half of the 20th century. Following the increasing scholarship focused on these histories, my thesis aims to combat the relative lack of writing surrounding Wadud’s music and influence.