Jazzocracy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology Hardcover


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$21.79 $12.68 $12.95

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Better World Books; 1st edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615176933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615176932
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,259,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

While touring with Wynton Marsalis and assisting John Kerry s presidential bid, Sehgal noticed similarities between American democracy and jazz. In both, he sees a balance between the individual and the group, independence and cooperation; both allow room for improvisation while maintaining a structural base. Sehgal maintains that the structure of our country is solid but argues we need new mythologies to support it. Mythologies (like the American dream) have served to define the values that we pass along to help create a sense of who we are as a people. Sehgal sees current popular art, specifically rap music, as laden with "vapid materialism" and "self stereotyping," and therefore unworthy of the task. He advocates for a mainstream expression that will help steer public opinion toward positiveness, writing that we need modern American classics that strengthen and unite us. He considers jazz the perfect vehicle. --Library Journal

Kabir Sehgal brilliantly shows us how both jazz and democracy require an environment of free exchange and collective ingenuity. --Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States

Kabir Sehgal knows whereof he speaks when he writes on the impact of jazz and democracy on America. He has participated at the highest level in both. A jazz artist extraordinaire and a political junkie like me, he hits the nail on the head when he writes that these two powerful influences in America have combined to define our unique culture. A must read for anyone interested in how this country got to be what it is. --The Honorable Max Cleland, Former U.S. Senator

From the Back Cover

It's often said that art is prescient. Jazzocracy is a clarion work about the future of American culture. As a jazz enthusiast, I am excited to see a fresh, cogent, and stirring paradigm for the music. Maestro Sehgal picks you up on the first page and propels you through the rest with dazzling intellect and wit. Bravo.  --Jude Law, Academy Award nominated actor

More About the Author

Kabir Sehgal is an author and jazz enthusiast. His books have been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS Newshour. He is a jazz bassist who has performed with Grammy-award winning musicians, a producer of a Grammy-nominated album, and a co-founder of Music for Tomorrow. He served as a special assistant and speechwriter on a presidential campaign. Kabir is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the London School of Economics, and for several years has worked at an investment bank in New York.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
13
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 15 customer reviews
He or she is treated to fascinating supportive historical and modern-day narrative.
John M. Feeney
Anyone who feels like something is missing from the American cultural discourse will enjoy this book- jazz buffs and jazz neophytes alike.
David A. Gardner
Sehgal points out that the radio free Europe project which broadcast music into Soviet Russia, predominately played jazz music.
Dustin Reidy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Marlow on July 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Review by Eugene Marlow, Ph.D

In a later chapter of Jazzocracy: Jazz, Democracy, and the Creation of a New American Mythology, Kabir Sehgal writes: "It is illuminating that those who were the most oppressed in America [blacks] have created the most democratic of arts." This simple statement is fraught with layers of meaning in a book that delves comprehensively into the metaphor of jazz-as-democracy.

Jazzocracy gives an initial impression of a young first-time author who wants to tell you everything he or she ever learned about a subject, like many top students who have yet to integrate and organize their knowledge. By the end of the book, however, you realize you have just read something brilliant, articulate, insightful and important.

In part, Jazzocracy shines because of its compactness. With a narrative only 171 pages long, it consists of 650 endnotes drawn from 237 sources. Sehgal's work succeeds at melding the seemingly disparate subjects implied by jazz and democracy.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nikhil Pai on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I met Kabhir about 7 years ago when we were both Juniors at a conference in New York City, and the guy screamed potential even back then. He was making commentaries on politics, music, social justice -- and the intersections between them -- in a manner well beyond our years. Today, he compiles these ideas into a thoughtful piece that brings together his interests, and brings others towards those interests, too. A unique work from a deep thinker; I really look forward to seeing what the next 7 years brings from Kabhir, the author.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anthony V. Defeo on February 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book I feel proud to be an American. I have a new and enlightened appreciation and pride in our country's call into existence. Kabir Seghal's infectious solo work grooves distinctly, infusing jazz and democracy - two organic and constantly evolving expressions of American society and culture. The author makes a very logically concise case for the creative economy of New Orleans that should not be ignored. The government is far too underweight New Orleans, which is soon to change thanks to politically savvy and passionate stewards of jazz like Kabir Sehgal. Kabir's attention to detail and insightful reflections are immensely inspiring and I highly recommend this book to anyone who'd like to read the anthem of a virtuoso.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Wes on September 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Review by Wesley J. Watkins, IV, Ph.D.
The Jazz & Democracy Project(tm) [...]

Many months after spearheading a year long jazz and democracy elementary school collaboration, and spending countless hours searching for creative ways to make the jazz-democracy metaphor explicit and significant to classes of 5th graders, I discovered JAZZOCRACY, the book that would have provided the road map for the trail I (thought I) was blazing! Not only does Sehgal illuminate nearly every angle of the jazz-democracy metaphor, his writing style eloquently mirrors tenets of the metaphor itself. Like the jazz soloist who has mastered his instrument and craft, able to pull from myriad licks, experiences, and sources of inspiration, Sehgal culls innumerable sources to explicate the intricacies and subtle yet significant beauty of this most American of metaphors. In so doing, he allows scholars, music critics, historical figures, and jazz luminaries to co-exist and converse with one another on the page, ultimately crafting a collective work of art by his single hand, and thereby reconciling the individual amongst the group.

House Congressional Resolution 57 (HR-57), passed by the 100th Congress in 1987, declares jazz a "rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated." It follows, then, that every student and citizen should learn about our nation's classical music, widely considered America's greatest artistic contribution to the world.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Rose Magnusson on April 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Brilliant is the first word that comes to mind. Jazzocrazy is an extremely well written book comparing the evolution of American democracy with the incredible American invention and art form that is Jazz. Not only is the book brilliant, but it was written by a very brilliant, musically talented, politically savvy, not to mention, highly likable guy. Kabir breathes life into the metaphor between jazz and democracy, giving each a soul of it's own but showing how jazz and democracy are in fact kindred American spirits.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.B. on April 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When I began reading this book I knew very little of Jazz and had never thought of it as being particularly 'democratic.' After reading, however, I feel much more connected to this great American art form and its incredible power.

Sehgal's erudite prose grabbed my attention from page one and kept me interested throughout.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dustin Reidy on November 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kabir Sehgal's endeavor Jazzocracy begins with guiding the reader to rediscover Jazz, America's greatest contribution to culture. And not only its greatest contribution to culture, but a rosetta stone to learning America's culture and government itself as it evolved into one of both dynamic individualism and a great community project.

America's representative democracy is the rhythm of the beat, keeping every jazz musician on the same path. Jazz's virtuoso solos are the oratory and individualism of the leader in democracy. Jazz promotes and celebrates the virtuoso, but, just like in government they are never separate from and dis attached from the community of jazz artists they are on stage with. Through a vigorous exposition of the metaphors of jazz, Sehgal applies the same metaphors to American Democracy and shows the verisimilitude of both projects.

The same can be said of Jazz's and America's history according to Kabir. Jazz's roots stretch back to the music traditions of Africa, brought here with the black slaves America exploited. A direct link to the land these African Americans were torn from, as jazz evolved the same history of segregation is written into the chords of blues and jazz.

Jazz comes to be much more than the outgrowth of classical African music. America gives jazz its distinctive individualism as it grew in America's most cosmopolitan city, New Orleans. And as it was exported to Europe, Jazz became seen as America's imprint on world culture. What seemed like a natural music to Americans, was understood as democracy at its best by Europeans. Jazz became an important weapon in the arsenal of democracy employed through out the cold war.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa254aaf8)