Alan Lomax (January 15, 1915 - July 19, 2002)
Born: 15th January, 1915
Died: 19th July, 2002
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Writer
Region: Austin, Texas, Florida
Notable works: "Cantometrics: A Handbook and Training Method"

Alan Lomax Facts


Alan Lomax, (born January 15, 1915, Austin, Texas, U.S.--died July 19, 2002, Sarasota, Florida), American ethnomusicologist, one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable folk-music scholars of the 20th century.

After study at Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin (B.A., 1936), and Columbia University, Lomax toured the prisons of the American Deep South with his father, John Lomax, also a noted student of folk song, recording folk-song performances for the Archive of American Song of the Library of Congress. During this tour they discovered the great blues singer Huddie Ledbetter ("Leadbelly"). Later, Lomax was responsible for introducing to American audiences other folk and blues artists, including Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Josh White, and Burl Ives. In 1938 he made a series of recordings with the jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton. From 1951 to 1958 he was in Europe, recording hundreds of folk songs in Great Britain, Italy, and Spain.

A profound folklorist who was also interested in the historical and social origins of jazz, Lomax wrote an outstanding biography of Jelly Roll Morton, Mr. Jelly Roll (1950). The Folk Songs of North America in the English Language was published in 1960. His work in cantometrics (the statistical analysis of singing styles correlated with anthropological data), which he developed with Victor Grauer, is the most comprehensive study of folk song as yet undertaken. Cantometrics: A Handbook and Training Method appeared in 1976. Lomax also wrote and directed the documentary The Land Where the Blues Began (1985). In 1997 the Alan Lomax Collection debuted on Rounder Records. The series featured more than 100 albums of music recorded by Lomax.

Top 5 Alan Lomax quotes

And the thing that I always tried to do with important singers when I met them was to sit down and record everything they knew, give them a first real run-through of their art.
I knew Bobby Dylan back in the days when he lived in the village. He used to come and see me and sing songs for me, saying they ought to go into my next collected book on American folk music.
Folk music
The British ballads became a new kind of form in their hand. And out of them came the blues, a new kind of song of commentary and satire, a song form which, after all, has become the main musical form of the whole human species.
Human species
He learned through the way that my father and I felt about his songs, his country songs, that they were great songs. And then he went out and sang them for the audiences that we found, and he found a tremendous reaction to that.
Great songs
You could hear him, literally, half a mile away when he opened up. He was at his peak then. He was, naturally, dying to get out of the place he was in, and he recorded for us his appeal for pardon to the governor.

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