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Jazz/Not Jazz

Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries

David Ake
Charles Hiroshi Garrett
Daniel Goldmark
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Jazz/Not Jazz
    Book Description:

    What is jazz? What is gained-and what is lost-when various communities close ranks around a particular definition of this quintessentially American music?Jazz/Not Jazzexplores some of the musicians, concepts, places, and practices which, while deeply connected to established jazz institutions and aesthetics, have rarely appeared in traditional histories of the form. David Ake, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, and Daniel Goldmark have assembled a stellar group of writers to look beyond the canon of acknowledged jazz greats and address some of the big questions facing jazz today. More than just a history of jazz and its performers, this collections seeks out those people and pieces missing from the established narratives to explore what they can tell us about the way jazz has been defined and its history has been told.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95135-8
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In December 2009 England’sGuardiannewspaper reported on a lawsuit filed that month in Spain. According to the article, a “pistol-carrying Civil Guard police force descended on the Sigüenza Jazz festival . . . to investigate after an angry jazz buff complained that the Larry Ochs Sax and Drumming Core group was on the wrong side of a line dividing jazz from contemporary music. The jazz purist claimed his doctor had warned it was ‘psychologically inadvisable’ for him to listen to anything that could be mistaken for mere contemporary music.”¹ Leaving aside the supposed dangers (or definitions) of “mere contemporary...


    • CHAPTER 1 Incorporation and Distinction in Jazz History and Jazz Historiography
      (pp. 13-30)

      Over the past two decades we have seen a flowering of scholarship in what is often termed the “new jazz studies.” Jazz historians—but also sociologists, ethnomusicologists, literary scholars, practitioners of American Studies and ethnic studies, and others—have charted the histories of musicians and musical styles and situated them in their broader social contexts. We now have a much better idea of how various social forces have informed the production and consumption of jazz. We have more insights into the ways that musicians, rather than simply being engaged in the pursuit of art or, conversely, expressing in almost-unconscious ways...

    • CHAPTER 2 Louis Armstrong Loves Guy Lombardo
      (pp. 31-48)

      In the summer of 1949 Louis Armstrong sat down with the English jazz critic and record producer Leonard Feather for one of the “blindfold tests” Feather was then conducting forMetronomemagazine.¹ The way the blindfold tests worked was that Feather would get together with a prominent jazz performer, play a series of unidentified records, and ask the performer to comment on each and give it a rating from one to five stars.

      Armstrong said that he couldn’t give any record less than two stars, because he loved all music. As he told Feather, “there’s a story about the [church]...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Humor of Jazz
      (pp. 49-69)

      When the cornetist Bix Beiderbecke was asked in 1929 to define jazz, he replied, “Jazz is musical humor.” The celebrated composer and pianist Duke Ellington offered similar guidance to budding players: “you have to have a good sense of humor before you’re a really great jazz musician. Horace Silver, the hard bop and soul jazz pioneer, embraced this musical aesthetic as well, explaining that “I try to keep it on the light hearted side with some fun and laughter in it. It’s uplifting and it’s entertaining. . . . A lot of my music has a sense of humor. ....

    • CHAPTER 4 Creating Boundaries in the Virtual Jazz Community
      (pp. 70-88)

      The boundaries of jazz have long been discussed and debated in the pages of magazines, newspapers, and journals, and in films and other media, as critics, scholars, and musicians have expressed opinions on what qualifies as “real jazz.” Largely absent from this discussion has been the voice of the music’s fans, of the average jazz listener. While letters to the editors ofDown Beatand other periodicals have occasionally captured fans’ opinions on important issues in jazz, those letter writers represent only a small sliver of the jazz audience and their messages were mediated through publishers and editors. With the...

    • CHAPTER 5 Latin Jazz, Afro-Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Cubop, Caribbean Jazz, Jazz Latin, or Just . . . Jazz: The Politics of Locating an Intercultural Music
      (pp. 89-108)

      Jazz music is global and transcultural in its stylistic scope. It has been so since its inception. No more is this apparent than in the form of jazz that embodies a nexus of intercultural exchange, where African American musical practices are blended with Latin American and Caribbean forms. Today, we see an unprecedented interest in this music both institutionally and within popular realms, spawning a number of published histories, documentaries, compilations, recordings, and festivals. In short, we are experiencing a thriving moment in the music’s history, while only beginning to grasp and theorize the forces at play in this open...


    • CHAPTER 6 Jazz with Strings: Between Jazz and the Great American Songbook
      (pp. 111-147)

      In the 1940s and early 1950s there were several important trends in popular music that merged standard big band instrumentation with lush, urbane, string-based backgrounds. These trends, first evident in the early 1940s when a number of prominent bandleaders expanded their ensembles, developed into a highly successful commercial canon of both jazz-with-strings recordings and lush, Nelson Riddle–inspired “American Songbook” vocal recordings. Such mixtures of jazz and popular music idioms with orchestral textures borrowed from film music, musical theater, and certain popular symphonic literature.

      As these emulations might suggest, this broad jazz-with-strings repertory is closely related to midcentury trends in...

    • CHAPTER 7 “Slightly Left of Center”: Atlantic Records and the Problems of Genre
      (pp. 148-170)

      It’s 1966, and a neatly dressed African American man walks onstage as the first mystery guest of the evening onI’ve Got a Secret,a CBS game show hosted by Steve Allen. This man, Allen says, is “a professional musician who is truly unique in the world of jazz music.” The mystery guest whispers to Allen the secret that sets him apart from all other jazz musicians, which is shown on the screen for the studio and home audience: “I play jazz on the bagpipes.” After narrowing down the guest’s idiosyncrasy to an instrument, one of the four celebrity guests,...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Praxis of Composition-Improvisation and the Poetics of Creative Kinship
      (pp. 171-189)

      With the recent publication of George E. Lewis’s history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in New York City and John Brackett’s monograph on composer-improviser John Zorn—as well as several shorter studies and a number of recent dissertations—scholars of American music are beginning to give sustained attention to the experimental music scene that developed on and around Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1980s and 1990s.¹ The so-called “downtown scene”—a phrase coined by critics to describe a collaborative network of composer-improvisers who lived and worked in the area—presents us with a body...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Sound of Struggle: Black Revolutionary Nationalism and Asian American Jazz
      (pp. 190-216)

      These lyrics form part of the chorus to “Are You Chinese or Charlie Chan?,” the title track from pianist Jon Jang’s independently produced 1983 album. Recorded at the height of the Asian American consciousness movement, the song’s chorus refers repeatedly to the fictional Chinese American detective Charlie Chan, the lead character in more than forty films between 1931 and 1949. Much to the chagrin of Asian American activists who interpreted these films through the lens of post-1960s racial politics, Chan was played by a series of white actors, including Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, and Roland Winters.

      The graphic design for...


    • CHAPTER 10 Voices from the Jazz Wilderness: Locating Pacific Northwest Vocal Ensembles within Jazz Education
      (pp. 219-236)

      In 1944 a small shoeshine parlor adjacent to Seattle’s Pike Place Market became a personal hangout for local high school student Fredrick Halsted “Hal” Malcolm, who often stopped by the parlor to listen to the music playing on its jukebox and frequented the area’s numerous record shops in search of the latest releases. American popular music of the time was largely dominated by swing bands that featured both vocal soloists and vocal groups: the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers, the Glenn Miller Orchestra with Tex Beneke and the Modernaires, and the Artie Shaw Orchestra with...

    • CHAPTER 11 Crossing the Street: Rethinking Jazz Education
      (pp. 237-263)

      In a scene from the 2004 Hollywood thrillerCollateral,Vincent, a selfassured professional assassin (played by Tom Cruise), enters a Los Angeles jazz club with Max, a smart but timorous cab driver (Jamie Foxx), whom Vincent has forcibly enlisted to shuttle him from one hit job to another. The two men sit down at a table, ostensibly to listen to the band, led by a trumpeter named Daniel (Barry Shakaba Henley). It turns out that Vincent is not only a murderer but also a jazz aficionado. He lectures Max—no fan of the music—on the finer points of improvisation...

    • CHAPTER 12 Deconstructing the Jazz Tradition: The “Subjectless Subject” of New Jazz Studies
      (pp. 264-284)

      From its first publication inBlack Literature Forumin 1991, through and beyond its reprinting in Robert O’Meally’s edited volumeThe Jazz Cadence of American Culturein 1998, Scott DeVeaux’s “Constructing the Jazz Tradition” remains one of the most influential essays in academic jazz studies.¹ So frequently do jazz studies scholars jumpstart their journal articles, book introductions, and dissertations with gestures toward DeVeaux’s analysis of the jazz tradition as an interested narrative—rather than an objective account of a linear jazz past—that one could characterize much current work in new jazz studies under the rubric “Deconstructing the Jazz Tradition.”...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 285-288)
  10. Index
    (pp. 289-301)