A new history of jazz
The March 1913 issue of the San Francisco Bulletin coined the term "jazz" - using it to describe a dance music full of vigor and "pep." Over time, jazz became the word used to describe the syncopated bands that became popular in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century, playing a fiery mix of African and European music that then became popular in Chicago and New York and, finally, the world over. It wasn't long before the Roaring 1920s became known as "the Jazz Age," forever attaching the music form to decadence, booze, sex, and dancing.In his mammoth book A New History of Jazz, BBC presenter and London Times jazz critic Alyn Shipton investigates how jazz first started - examining the precursors of the music, identifying the difficulties in mapping out its history, and challenging the traditional views of its development. More than just a rote narrative, A New History of Jazz provides critical analysis of the jazz history that has been "written" among both academics and musicians over the last century. Shipton argues that the music's history is so characterized by underground clubs, regional styles, and the "fringe" element in general that previous attempts at tracing its routes have failed to grasp the big picture. He even questions the possibility of creating a universally applicable definition of jazz. Shipton also explores how different things contributed to the modern notions of jazz music. He examines how the development of sound recordings, instrumental innovations, and new methods of music publishing took the art form from its bayou routes to different urban areas around the country, and finally beyond the borders of the United States. A New History of Jazz further examines how the network of theaters, concert halls, and performances that sprang up all over the United States in the twentieth century contributed to the spread of the music's popularity and the different styles that have developed over the years. Leaving no stone unturned, Shipton's history of jazz is as sweeping as it is personal. This is the book that jazz aficionados have been waiting for, as well as an excellent primer for the casual fan.>
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Jazz was always a mystery for me, but I made a concerted effort a few years ago to understand it better. I have read a couple of more basic introductions (the NPR Guide, the Complete Idiot's Guide) before this one, and I found Shipton's book to be very well written and researched. It provides a great background, not only on the music, but also on the environment that created jazz. He takes pleasure in debunking some of the myths that have grown up around the music (sometimes too much pleasure), but his arguments are always backed up with research. While giving ample coverage to the giants of jazz, he also introduces the reader to many other figures who have shaped the music. Shipton is opinionated, but it always clear where he is stating an opinion. All in all, I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to deepen their understanding and curiosity about jazz. The only real shortcoming is that the book only has a small section of photographs. The Ken Burns jazz book lacks the breadth and depth of this one, but you do get to see great pictures of many of the people and places Shipton refers to in this very good book.
Review: A New History of JazzUser Review - Goodreads
The first third of the book was intriguing with information about the roots of jazz that made me completely change my masterclass about the birth of jazz. After that, there was a bit of rambling and then some statements that were overly-opinionated. Overall, I was very glad to have read it.
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