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Jazz: Myth and Religion Hardcover – April 9, 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (April 9, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195042492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195042498
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,507,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jazz musicians and audiences are participants in an activity that follows patterns of religious behavior, according to Leonard. His thorough documentation draws on the commentary of sociologists of religion such as Mircea Eliade as liberally as that of critics such as Nat Hentoff. Terms such as "ritual," "convert," "prophet," and "sect" describe the reaction of jazz to the "church" of traditional 19th-century music. At times this work takes a perspective reminiscent of the author's earlier Jazz and the White Americans (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1962). Leonard's juxtapositions of religion and jazz illuminate both, but will certainly appeal more to the sociologist than to the musicologist. William Brockman, Drew Univ. Lib., Madison, N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author


About the Author:
Neil Leonard is Chairman of the Department of American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Jazz and the White Americans.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jon C. Paulus on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because, first, I'm a jazz nut, and second, I'd read a tasty quote from it. I don't know what I was expecting, exactly, but the book uses Max Weber's and Ernst Troeltsch's theories of religion and religious movements to analyze the jazz movement. I didn't expect THAT at all!!! However, in my opinion, learning from parables and metaphors is sometimes more effective than learning "facts". And I think jazz is a metaphor for life, (nicely illustrated in the video where Hedrick Smith interviews Dave Brubeck for PBS), so I learned more about myself and life as I learned how the jazz movement has grown, matured, stagnated and been challenged to grow again over the years. A lot of information about the jazz greats, their relationships, how one gets admitted to the community, how change occurs in musical styles. It's interesting how every new musical movement that comes along, like ragtime coming into the milieu of classical music, for example, is first deplored by the old guard. The proponents of the new style eventually become the old guard who then deplores the next new style. This book is about how all that happens over and over again in a constantly emerging musical world. If you have an interest in music history, religious movements, jazz personalities, or your own life, you might find some gems in this book to tweak your thinking.
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