This flawed, pugnacious, but consistently alive and often perceptive collection of critical pieces on ""Black Music"" which LeRoi Jones has been intermittently writing for various magazines since 1961 is topical in more than one way. The young saxaphonist whom Jones rightly calls ""a jazz great."" John Coltrane, has just died, and Jones, at the moment of this writing, is in jail, after allegedly sporting two loaded pistols during the Newark riots. One mentions the latter event, since a racist theme runs throughout most of Jones' comments, whether surfacing as gratuitous bitchiness (""Not only the Beatles, but any group of middle-class white boys who need a haircut and male hormones can be a pop group"") or on a serious level, in his insistence that the socio-cultural background, the unique history of the Negro, is paramount: ""The notes mean something; the something is, regardless of its stylistic considerations, part of the black psyche as it dictates the various forms of Negro culture."" Monk, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Coleman, and, of course, Coltrane--these are among the figures Jones listens to, writes about, and interviews, doing so with an excitement and empathy and terrific knack for the true colloquial phrase, the right feeling, qualities absent in Hentoff et. al.