Michael E. Veal, whose scholarship and teaching address musical topics as well as themes of aesthetics, technology, and politics within the cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora, has been appointed the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music. His appointment was effective Feb. 20.
Veal is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, where he also holds academic appointments as a professor of African American studies and of American studies.
He is the author of three books, including “Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon” (Temple University Press, 2000), a biography of the influential and controversial Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. His documentation of the Afrobeat genre continued with the 2013 as-told-to autobiography “Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat” (Duke University Press). And his 2007 study of Jamaican dub music, “Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae” (Wesleyan University Press), examined the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers during the 1970s transformed the structure and concept of the post-World War II popular song, and examined sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical, and political themes.
In a forthcoming book, “Living Space: Miles Davis and John Coltrane, from Analog to Digital,” to be published by Wesleyan University Press, he explores under-documented periods in the careers of jazz artists John Coltrane and Miles Davis that encapsulate the stylistic interventions of “free jazz” and “jazz-rock fusion,” and draws on the language of digital architecture in order to suggest new directions for jazz analysis.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music with a bachelor’s in jazz composition and arranging, Veal earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. He taught at Mount Holyoke College and New York University before joining the Yale faculty in 1998.