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The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History Paperback – March 29, 1999
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Bebop burst onto the scene more than evolved out of it. Sundry other forms, musical and literary, also blew the minds of cultural conservatives; modernism was born, exemplified by James Joyce and Arnold Schoenberg. But, unlike literature and classical music, jazz before 1945 enjoyed no such classical standing. It was a form utterly dependent on and responsive to its audience. Suddenly, that relationship was reversed; jazz became avant-garde, newly inaccessible. DeVeaux offers the reader myriad such connections, asking questions that have large cultural repercussions in the artistic and commercial realms. What happened, for example, when the gap between composers and performers closed; who, then, would "own" the music; what was the impact of improvisation, the backbone of the form, on the recording industry?
Not written for the casual jazz fan (although certainly a highly readable chronicle of popular, midcentury culture), The Birth of Bebop combines the historian's breathtaking overview, the scholar's insistence on detail, and first-person accounts of such greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine. The oral histories and in-depth analyses of jazz compositions edge bebop beyond its usual treatment; DeVeaux presents a more encompassing, more exciting argument than the more typical evolution/revolution theories. By addressing the impact of bebop on the commercial, political, and aesthetic aspects of American culture, DeVeaux reveals it in all its richness--as artistic movement, cultural ideology, and commercial breakthrough. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Scott DeVeaux's book, "The Birth of Bebop" takes on squarely the issue of the Bebop's place in American music and in America's cultural development of the middle of the 20th-century. He has made excellent use of first-hand accounts, anecdotes, and obscure or original recordings to bring this story to life. He has applied an academic's discipline to documentation of his source material with a high degree of integrity. He achieves a remarkable balance between understanding and dealing with the details of the musical construction in the context of the "race" environments of the 1930s and '40s
This was an important era of American history. In a sense, we would like to forget the gross cultural inequities of the time. There are not many tangible reminders around, although the cultural imprint is still here and not likely disappear in the near future. Fortunately, the music of the era, Bebop, is still accessible through CD re-issues and is continuing to influence modern musical performance right through to a saxophone-toting Lisa Simpson. A key value of "The Birth of Bebop" is to remind us of this continuing connection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the best music history book I have ever read. In fact it is the best history book I have read, period. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Tender Combo
Never got past the introduction. DeVeaux just keeps repeating himself, straining mightily to make a point, restating the same thing ten slightly different ways apparently to... Read morePublished on July 10, 2013 by JagSam
Highly recommended for the average punter or jazz aficiando who is looking for an understanding of the stucture of bebop, its history and characters, with numerous musical... Read morePublished on April 3, 2011 by Edward Bee