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Down Beat: Sixty Years of Jazz Paperback – January 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation; 1st edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793534917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793534913
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beagle on March 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating historical document and is essential for any jazz lover.

It starts with an introduction describing the history of the magazine from its humble beginnings as a trade newspaper for musicians written by an insurance salesman to the great mucical and social commentator of jazz music that it became.

The main body of the book speaks for itself in articles published in the magazine, broken up into chapters each covering a decade of music starting with the 1930s. We see the rise of the great jazz era, the hiring of Charlie Christian by Benny Goodman followed by a eulogy for his untimely death a few pages later, interviews with countless greats such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie, the decline of the big bands, the rise of bop in the 1940s, all the way through to the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, the fusion of the 1970s and up to the artists of the present day such as the Marsalis brothers. There is so much here.

As a commentator of jazz music, Down Beat was inevitably drawn into debates on race. It was clear to any lover of jazz that the originators and best musicians in the genre were black. As a result the Down Beat writers were inevitably drawn to defending the rights of black artists. The articles from the 1930s in particular show both directly and indirectly the shameful racism that existed. For example, there are a number of articles discussing whether black players should play in white bands.

To the contemporary reader a few articles may be somewhat offensive in this regard. I think it is very important to recognise these as evidence of the attitudes and prejudices of the times.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BevRich on September 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Found this book at my local library. Loved it so much that I bought 2 copies, one for myself and a good friend.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Tempas on November 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Amazing magazine of the times, wish it was more complete, such as the times Down Beat got it wrong. And wow - that cover art. God hoping they fired the graphic designer that unleashed that on the world. You'd think they'd do a design in keeping with the history that was inside?
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