"After seven years and countless hours of work by Edward Komara, Crane librarian at SUNY Potsdam, the Routledge “Encyclopedia of the Blues,” the first-ever comprehensive work chronicling blues music, is now available to the public.
“It is the first multivolume reference work devoted to the blues, on a scale not previously attempted, at over 600,000 words and 75 illustrations, with an index,” said Komara who edited the two-volume set.
According to Komara, the purpose of the “Encyclopedia of the Blues” is to lay a historical, musical and cultural foundation for the future studies of blues music. Coverage of the work encompasses the whole history of the blues, from its antecedents in African and American types of music, through its late 19th-century beginnings among African Americans, the classic pre-World War II era and the influential postwar era, to the contemporary styles performed today for audiences of all races and classes.
The encyclopedia is a multidisciplinary project, combining the work of approximately 140 scholars of music, bibliography, and American history and culture. Many of the contributors came from various backgrounds in music performance, cultural scholarship, the recording industry, and print journalism.
Great work, Ed! Anyone interested in taking a look at this unique and really interesting encyclopedia (there's a great collection of nicknames in the history of blues...) will be able to look at a copy in the Crane Library, at call number ML102.B6 E53 2006. (Right now, it's on display with other faculty publications, in the wall cases between The Greenery and Raymond Hall, but we'll be adding it to the Libraries soon.)
And I'm certain Ed would be happy to talk to anyone about either the encylopedia or the blues! You can find him in the Crane Library...