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A New History of Jazz (Bayou) Hardcover – September 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Bayou
  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826447546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826447548
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.1 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,640,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Library Journal

In this unusually thoughtful and comprehensive history, Shipton, a BBC announcer and a critic for the Times, uncovers and explores a broader spectrum of jazz developments in addition to tackling commonly accepted stereotypes and myths. Things weren't as neat and tidy as previous jazz writers would have you believe. It's accepted as fact, for example, that jazz was born in New Orleans, moved north to Chicago, then east to the Big Apple. Shipton, however, illustrates that there was much more interplay among musicians, that word and note did not spread in any one direction. The author also shatters the creation myth of bebop: it was, he convincingly argues, the work of small bands playing night after night not the result of after-hour jams, which were open to more or less anyone. Shipton also points out how strongly jazz was grasped by musicians in Europe, the Far East, and Latin America, and the book is worth purchasing for these sections alone (Gary Giddins's Visions of Jazz, LJ 8/98, failed to investigate this phenomenon). The inclusion of post-late 1950s jazz genres, including free improvisation, are also treated with the respect that they deserve. Highly recommended for all libraries. (Index and bibliography not seen.) [Columbia Records will release the two-CD set, Jazz, the Definitive Performances, as a tie-in with this book. Ed.] William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhea.
- William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Alyn Shipton is the author of several award winning books on music including A New History of Jazz, I Feel a Song Coming On (a biography of songwriter Jimmy McHugh) and Groovin' High: the Life of Dizzy Gillespie. He is jazz critic for The Times in London and has presented jazz programs on BBC radio since 1989. In 2010 he was voted Jazz Broadcaster of the Year in the UK Parliamentary Jazz Awards. He is also an accomplished double bassist, having played with many traditional and mainstream jazz bands, and he lectures in jazz history at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Customer Reviews

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Especially recommended for college library and music history shelves.
Midwest Book Review
Alyn Shipton knows more about the history of jazz than any human on the face of the planet, and this book displays his skills at their finest.
Michael Werner
I was happily surprised to read his instalment on jazz in Belgium during the twenties and thirties.
jempi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By jempi on August 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
a new history of JAZZ - Alyn Shipton
Continuum - London - New York
Let me put it straight right away : this is a great book and should be in every true jazz lover's library. This book tells you so much about our music that it leaves nearly every history on jazz ever written far behind. Not only it contains a lot of details on the musicians and the music, it is written in such a way it makes you eager to go out looking for the music it talks about. By the way there is a doubble CD that goes with this book containing examples of the music described in the book.
The man behind this book is bass player, researcher, writer, radio man, etc Alyn Shipton. Alyn played bass with a lot of well known English bands over the years. He recorded a.o. with Butch Thompson's King Oliver Centennial Band, was a member of The London Ragtime Orchestra, appeared many times at the Ascona Festival a.o. with Dan Pawson's band, King Oliver Centennial, Bob Wilber and Friends, etc. During the Ascona festivals, Alyn led many symposia on all aspects of jazz.and he also talked to many of the old time musicians he played with and he visited. So Alyn knows what he is talking about.
The "new history of jazz" starts way back before even the word jazz was invented. Alyn goes back to the plantation and slavery days, and he tries to reconstruct the musical live in those days, based on original documents and scientific studies, which where published over the years. There was a rich musical tradition of string bands in many parts of the Southern states. Like many authors, Alyn sees the birth of jazz in and around New Orleans, a city with a very rich musical tradition and past, and most of all a rich social live.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent history of jazz. Shipton successfully balances his scholarship with a style that is very readable, even for a layperson. I would recommend getting the Columbia/Legacy 2 CD set "Jazz: The Definitive Collection" since Shipton refers directly to tracks from this compilation throughout the book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "larrydanekellogg" on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jazz is arguably the most important music of the 20th century. But, as significant as jazz is, its history, like the music itself, is an inexact art. In his book, A New History of Jazz, Alyn Shipton challenges the conventional assertions about the development and spread of Jazz, delving deep into the annals of available documented history to provide substance to his treatise. What is known about jazz is that the African-American culture is interwoven throughout the music's derivation and subsequent worldwide proliferation. After this, things get a little less definite.
Lester Bowie (Art Ensemble of Chicago) once asked: "Is Jazz Dead, Yet?" He eloquently answered his own question by saying that although jazz has changed over the years, sometimes radically, the music has survived by virtue of its ability to change, adapting by taking on elements of newly discovered musical concepts. What was once jazz is different now and will continue to change in the future. In other words, in oxymoronic fashion, jazz is dead-- but thriving. Likewise, the uncertain origins of what became "jazz," at this point in history, are fluid and will continue to change as more information is added to the mix.
This newest attempt to uncover the beginnings of jazz has been unflinchingly billed as "The antidote to Ken Burns' Jazz," the PBS ten part series which garnered a great deal of attention in early 2001. The author's desire to go head to head with the most popular presentation of jazz in many years is good for him and good for jazz. Much like Miles Davis' belief that controversy brings attention to the music and gets more people listening--a debate on the details of when, where and how jazz began will accomplish this same goal.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Now in a newly revised and updated edition, A New History of Jazz is the award-winning chronicle of the evolution of this widely beloved form of music, as told by music author, publisher, editor, and critic Alyn Shipton. From the precursors to the first jazz tunes, to variations regional styles, to the "big picture" of the jazz scene that is so easily lost amid tracing its popularity in underground clubs, to the unique and colorful individuals who espoused jazz, to the migration of jazz worldwide, A New History of Jazz strives above all to be comprehensive in its chronicling. Written in a highly detailed yet accessible tone, A New History of Jazz will prove as invaluable to curious lay readers and music scholars alike. Especially recommended for college library and music history shelves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The New History of Jazz is excellent reading. So much that is not in many jazz books is included. This book goes shares great detail of many artists that are often overlooked because they didn't make it to the big stage. A must to be added to your jazz library.
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