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Jazz: A History of America's Music Hardcover – November 7, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The big problem with this book is that it provides, at best, a severely truncated and tendentious history of the music. The (generally crisp) narrative simply peters out about 1955. One chapter gives a cursory overview of several developments in the 1950s. The final chapter covers the remaining 40 years in a slim, almost perfunctory twenty or thirty pages. Perhaps the book should have been titled "Jazz: The First 50 Years."
It appears to me that the authors - both autodidacts in the field of jazz - simply lost their nerve. Writing a jazz history in the years after 1950 admittedly gets harder. The music splits into many competing schools and styles. Much of it is simply harder for the uninitiated to listen to. But this is no excuse to gloss over or ignore the great music and musicians who mean so much to jazz fans born after 1940. (Would you believe that Charles Mingus only merits a piddling sidebar?)
The authors seem to have signed onto the orthodoxy of Wynton Marsalis and his ilk. In a nutshell, this holds that jazz took (multiple) wrong turns in the modern era. It stopped featuring the familiar, danceable, toe-tappable shuffling swing that earned it its original popularity. In other words, modern jazz has turned into a musical dead end.Read more ›
Ignore the petty sniping by some of the reviewers complaining about the abbreviated treatment that jazz from the last 40 years receives. This is a book which aims to provide a panorama of jazz AND society. So the focus, understandably, is on those musicians who have had the greatest impact on American culture (e.g., Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis). Just hearing those names immediately evokes a certain place and time in American history. Sadly, many jazz musicians of the past 40 years have chosen to marginalize the music: the names "Lester Bowie" and "Pharoah Sanders" don't resonate for the public-at-large because, and this may be hard to take for some, the influence and popularity of the so-called avant-garde outside of the jazz intelligensia is minimal.
The purpose of this book is to present a history of America's music. It overwhelmingly succeeds. I don't think the music has ever received a finer treatment in print.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jazz is a monumental work of American history necessary to anyone attempting to appreciate contemporary popular music. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
This is an amazing book about New Orleans and the history of jazz. I am mesmerized by reading about the truly American art form. Read morePublished 8 months ago by amazon addict
Excellent History. I'm going to order the DVD version next as it will probably have much more music included.Published 9 months ago by B. Pierce
Ken Burns is the best "practical" researcher of this period. I am a collector of American music as well as a retired high school history teacher, and I found this book to... Read morePublished 11 months ago by moonglows1
The best way to learn about American history and a well-researched, detailed history of American created music. Love itPublished 11 months ago by Eclectic Reader
Unbelievable book especially for a researcher and covers a lot of ground beyond music/jazz: A History of the the period.Published 16 months ago by Robert Harvey
My guy already had this book and loves it ~ he got another copy at Christmas for a buddy who is also a jazz fan.Published 17 months ago by Toni Tarango