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Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce - Hardcover

 
9780394533933: Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce
How does the jazz of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker fit into the great tradition of the modern arts between 1920 and 1950? In Jazz Modernism, one of our finest cultural historians provides the answer.

Alfred Appel, author of The Annotated Lolita ("superb . . . full of vigor, gems, and stratagems"--Vladimir Nabokov), compares the layering of sex, vitality, and the vernacular in jazz with the paper collages of Picasso, and the vital mix of high and low culture found in Joyce. He shows how the musical construct of jazz was pared down by the masters as sculpture was in Calder's hands or prose in Hemingway's. He makes clear how Armstrong and Waller tore apart and rebuilt Tin Pan Alley material in the way that modernists in the visual arts arrived at wood assemblage and scrap-metal sculpture. He enables us to see that Ellington's "jungle" style was as un-primitive as Brancusi's self-conscious Africanesque sculpture. And along the way, he "recalls" live jazz perform-ances during the 1950s by Armstrong and John Coltrane, among others, and the night Charlie Parker played to a visibly thrilled Igor Stravinsky at Birdland.

Making connections as illuminating as they are unexpected, Alfred Appel gives us a brilliant new way of understanding jazz.

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Winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Best Book on Popular Music 2003
From the Back Cover:
"[Jazz Modernism uses] definitive examples of early to mid-twentieth-century literary art to establish the place of classic jazz in the great modernist tradition of the arts. . . . Brilliant licks of artistic syncopation, insight, and delightful humor."-Bernadette Murphy, Los Angeles Times; "A piquant, playful book [that] scrambles and quickens the senses by showing the parallels between key jazz influences . . . and their literary contemporaries."--Christian Science Monitor; "Appel has a great good time sharing [his] stories and his joy is contagious."--William P. Kelly, New York Times; "Rarely if ever has a nonmusician written about jazz so intelligently as does Appel in Jazz Modernism, and rarely has any musically trained critic brought to the study of jazz so wide a frame of cultural reference. . . . He has certainly made a compelling case for treating what one might call 'Armstrong-era' jazz as a species of modern music."-Terry Teachout, Commentary

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  • PublisherKnopf
  • Publication date2002
  • ISBN 10 0394533933
  • ISBN 13 9780394533933
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages296
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9780300102734: Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce

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Publisher: Yale University Press, 2004
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