From Library Journal
Tucker, who teaches women's studies at Hobart and William Smith colleges and writes the "Jazzwomen Jam" column for Jazz Now magazine, masterfully shows how instrumental "all-girl" bands were in changing social, sexual, racial, and economic attitudes toward women. In the 1930s and 1940s, Phil Spitalny's incredibly commercially successful, all-woman "Hour of Charm" Orchestra, she contends, "introduced thousands upon thousands of listeners to the concept that women were capable of playing band instruments." The group also, unfortunately, instilled in listeners the "image of billowing dresses and cultured white womanhood"Da stereotype that "jazzier" and African American/multiracial groups like the Darlings of Rhythm and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm had to work hard to break. Tucker interviewed scores of these musicians (many still alive and swinging), attended the Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band's 1993 reunion, and documented their experiences of touring, recording, and dealing with the chauvinstic musicians' union and armed forces. Marriage to another musician, she relates, often meant dealing with violent jealousy: one woman came home to find that her husband had burned her band memorabilia in the backyard. "Only God can make a tree and only men can play good jazz," prominent jazz author George Simon wrote at the time, but Tucker proves that so talented were "all-girl" bands that most men wallowed in denial. An essential purchase for academic, public, and music libraries.DWilliam G. Kenz, Moorhead State Univ., MN
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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“Swing Shift is a long-overdue historical corrective and a compelling read—a thoroughly remarkable achievement.”—David Hajdu, author of Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
“Swing Shift is the most original, thought-provoking jazz book written in the last thirty years. Sherrie Tucker’s virtuoso performance not only tears down the bars of silence that have kept women musicians invisible, but she reveals how this silence works to uphold the race and gender mythologies that we know as the history of the ‘swing era.’ After prying open our eyes and ears, Tucker takes us on a funky, surprising, inspiring musical journey that will drive all jazzheads back to the woodshed. And if that’s not enough, as a writer this ‘girl’ can swing off the page!”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Yo' Mama's Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America
“Sherrie Tucker’s beautifully written and meticulously researched book on women jazz bands introduces us to a generation of awesome musicians, whose stories raise provocative questions about the impact of race, class, gender, and sexuality on dominant conceptions of jazz history. In suggesting new ways of thinking about the place of women jazz musicians in recent U.S. history, Swing Shift boldly challenges our contemporary understandings of the unruly politics of culture. ”—Angela Davis