[UCP Books]: Move on Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power by Aaron Cohen


“A richly knowledgeable, deeply considered, and important addition to the history of African American music and its impact on Chicago and beyond.”

Booklist, Starred Review


“Cohen marries scholarly erudition with sincere musical affection in this intriguing look at Chicago soul.”

Library Journal


“An extraordinary achievement. . . . Cue up the Chi-Lites, open this book, and enjoy!”

Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life



Move On Up

Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power

Aaron Cohen


US Publication Date: September 30, 2019  International Publication Date: October 28, 2019

234 pages | 13 halftones | 6 x 9 | ISBN-13: 978-0-226-65303-7 | Paper $20.00/£15.00



We all know Chicago as a city of jazz and blues. But as many of us forget, it is also a city that helped give us soul. In Move On Up, writer, scholar, and sometimes DJ Aaron Cohen tells the remarkable story of the rise of soul music and black empowerment in Chicago. Together, Chicago soul artists of the 1960s to ’80s and black-owned businesses thrived. Record producers and song-writers broadcast optimism for black America’s future through sophisticated, jazz-inspired productions heard across the country—and they even helped elect Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews and Cohen’s passion for the unmistakable Chicago soul sound—from Earth, Wind, and Fire to Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield to Minnie Riperton—Move On Up is a thrilling tale of music and musicians that inspired black consciousness in the Windy City and beyond. For a Spotify playlist curated by Cohen, visit Chicago Soul Book at https://spoti.fi/2kwB5by.



Aaron Cohen covers the arts for numerous publications and teaches English, journalism, and humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. He is the author of Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace.”

Please contact Nicholas Lilly at 773.702.7490 or nlilly@uchicago.edu for more information.


Upcoming Move On Up Events


October 10, 6:00 PM, Seminary Co-op in Chicago, IL: Cohen will be joined in conversation and with a live DJ set by Duane Powell.  https://www.semcoop.com/event/aaron-cohen-move-duane-powell.


October 11, 8:30 PM, Constellation in Chicago, IL: Move On Up’s official book launch celebration featuring Cohen as DJ and dancing. https://www.constellation-chicago.com/event/1886338-aaron-cohen-book-release-move-chicago/


October 24, 7:30 PM, Book Cellar in Chicago, IL: A signing and reading with Cohen. https://www.bookcellarinc.com/event/aaron-cohen-move-chicago-soul-music-and-black-cultural-power


October 26, 3:00 PM, Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IA: A signing and conversation with artist and activist Kembrew McLeod. https://www.prairielights.com/live


November 2, 6:00 PM, Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, WI: A signing featuring DJ Eric Blowtorch. https://www.boswellbooks.com/upcoming-events


January 3, Book Soup in Los Angeles, CA. https://www.booksoup.com/event


January 7, City Lights in San Francisco, CA. http://www.citylights.com/info/?fa=events


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