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Jazz: The Australian Accent Paperback – October 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of New South Wales Press; Pap/Com edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1921410140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1921410147
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,866,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Shand is music critic, author, playwright, and librettist. He is the resident critic at the Sydney Morning Herald and has written about jazz in more than a dozen publications. He is the author of Don’t Shoot the Best Boy: The Film Crew at Work.

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Format: Paperback
Saturday, 01 November 2008

I do not envy John Shand the decisions he had to make when choosing musicians to talk to for subject matter in his new book Jazz: The Australian Accent, launched today by Paul Grabowsky at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz. There are so many good ones. So many stories; so much to say.

The premise of the book is to ask and answer the question `is there such a thing as Australian jazz or is there just jazz made in Australia?'

Shand introduces us to a context in which the question is asked, in a brief and masterfully written introduction to Australian jazz in the world and in history. In fact the first 20 pages of this 200-plus page book put the rest of the chapters elegantly in context, with a chapter called `Splendid Isolation' (much preferable to the clichéd and overused aphorism `Tyranny of Distance' that Geoffrey Blainey's history book gave us, a long time ago) and another on improvisation, with a little note about New Zealand participants in the Australian jazz scene. We have, after all, a tendency to claim Kiwis as our own, when we like them!

What follows these contextualising essays is a book full of just the sorts of stories many of us enjoy reading about creative people. It is evident that John Shand knows and loves the music about which he is writing. It is also clear that his appreciation for the music and what he calls its truth has enabled him to have many revealing and thoughtful conversations with musicians. His approach to the discussion of the contribution made by various musicians is to categorise: three main groups are covered, which he has named The Godfathers, The Firebrands, The Pioneers of Now. He also talks briefly about women in jazz and about `Future Stars'.
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