Alyn Shipton A New History of Jazz

ISBN 13: 9780826465924

A New History of Jazz

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The March 1913 issue of the San Francisco Bulletin coined the term "jazz" - using it to describe a dance music full of vigor and "pep." Over time, jazz became the word used to describe the syncopated bands that became popular in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century, playing a fiery mix of African and European music that then became popular in Chicago and New York and, finally, the world over. It wasn't long before the Roaring 1920s became known as "the Jazz Age," forever attaching the music form to decadence, booze, sex, and dancing.In his mammoth book A New History of Jazz, BBC presenter and London Times jazz critic Alyn Shipton investigates how jazz first started - examining the precursors of the music, identifying the difficulties in mapping out its history, and challenging the traditional views of its development. More than just a rote narrative, A New History of Jazz provides critical analysis of the jazz history that has been "written" among both academics and musicians over the last century. Shipton argues that the music's history is so characterized by underground clubs, regional styles, and the "fringe" element in general that previous attempts at tracing its routes have failed to grasp the big picture. He even questions the possibility of creating a universally applicable definition of jazz. Shipton also explores how different things contributed to the modern notions of jazz music. He examines how the development of sound recordings, instrumental innovations, and new methods of music publishing took the art form from its bayou routes to different urban areas around the country, and finally beyond the borders of the United States. A New History of Jazz further examines how the network of theaters, concert halls, and performances that sprang up all over the United States in the twentieth century contributed to the spread of the music's popularity and the different styles that have developed over the years. Leaving no stone unturned, Shipton's history of jazz is as sweeping as it is personal. This is the book that jazz aficionados have been waiting for, as well as an excellent primer for the casual fan.

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About the Author:

Alyn Shipton presents jazz radio programs for the BBC and is a critic for The Times in London. He is the author of several books on music, as well as a music publisher and editor. He divides his time between Oxford and the French countryside. In 2010, he was voted UK Jazz Broadcaster of the Year.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this monumental study, Shipton (Groovin' High), who presents jazz programs for the BBC, covers what he believes to be the most significant musical form to emerge during the 20th century. The book delves deeply into all aspects of the music, from boogie-woogie, big bands and bebop to the experiments of the postmodern era. The author's emphasis on jazz as an international phenomenon, even though it originated in the U.S., sets the book apart from other histories, as does his examination of the politicization of this music in the 1960s through organizations such as the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Black Artists' Group in St. Louis. Coltrane, Mingus and Ornette Coleman receive special attention, but Shipton doesn't concentrate on superstars, and these are only a few among the multitude of musicians he discusses. His observations on style are succinct and evocative: Ben Webster's saxophone playing has "the slightly sinister feeling that violence might erupt any moment"; the "tremendous press-roll" of Art Blakey's drumming hauls "players from one chorus to the next with unfettered power." Throughout, Shipton stresses the importance of the recording industry, which early on helped spread the form to young musicians beyond the big centers of New Orleans, Chicago and New York, and has facilitated communication between jazz musicians. This comprehensive book, with its wealth of information presented in a nontechnical style accessible to the general reader, is a major contribution to the literature of jazz. 100 b&w photos not seen by PW.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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