UT Professor Presents Snapshots of ‘Sweet Soul Music’

KNOXVILLE — Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie are some of the biggest names in R&B, blues, jazz and gospel music.

In the 1970s, these artists and many others performed in the kind of venues that allowed fans to get up close.

“Sweet Soul Music of the 1970s,” a selection of photographs taken at the time by Wornie Reed, professor and director of the Africana Studies program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are now on display at the Black Cultural Center. The exhibit will be open until May 10.

Reed will present a slideshow of the photos and lead a discussion at 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, at the Black Cultural Center. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Reed was a graduate student at Boston University when he decided to take his SLR camera along to concerts he attended from 1971 to 1974. Most of the pictures were taken in Boston, where he saw Franklin perform three times. Other performers were The Staple Singers, known for hits including “I’ll Take You There,” and Monk, who performed in a rare setting with Charles Mingus, a world-renowned jazz bassist. Reed also saw Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins at Carnegie Hall in New York.

During the event on Wednesday, Reed will discuss the settings for the photos, the artists and how the artists fit into the genres of music. Samples of the music also will be played.

Reed said he hopes the audience will come away learning something they didn’t know — perhaps that The Rolling Stones got their name from Waters’ song “Rolling Stone,” and that Mick Jagger was influenced by Hopkins.

“I want to give the audience a background to the music from the social and historical contexts,” he said. “Many people don’t know about the connections these artists have to today’s music.”

Reed earned his master’s degree and doctorate in sociology at Boston University. Trained as a medical sociologist under a health services research training fellowship, Reed has taught courses, conducted research and published numerous articles on medical care, health and illness, urban communities and criminal justice.


Contact:

Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu

Wornie Reed, (865) 974-5052, wreed5@utk.edu