Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-60

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University of Michigan Press, 2001 - Music - 239 pages
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When most people think of Detroit and music, they think of the Motown sound. But what many people forget is that Detroit has a remarkable jazz history, which became a major influence in what came to be known as the Motown sound.

Before Motown is the first book about the history of jazz in Detroit. It shows the significant impact Detroit has had on the development of jazz in America, with its own sound, distinct from that of the other jazz centers of Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, or Kansas City. Starting with the big bands in the 1920s,with groups like the McKinney's Cotton Pickers and Jean Goldkette's Orchestra, and continuing into the 1950s, Detroit experienced a golden age of modern jazz centered around clubs like the Blue Bird Inn. That jazz scene comes alive in interviews with musicians and club owners, combined with unique period photographs and advertisements. In addition, Detroit's vital jazz scene is placed in its social context, particularly within the changing relations between blacks and whites at the time.

Long overdue, Before Motown tells the story of Detroit jazz as it really happened, told by the people who lived it. More importantly, it shows how life can mirror art in the most pragmatic of American cities, Detroit.

Lars Bjorn is Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan, Dearborn, and the author of numerous articles and publications about jazz. Jim Gallert is Vice President of the Jazz Alliance of Michigan and a veteran jazz broadcaster. He has been involved with the Detroit jazz scene for over twenty-five years.

 

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Before Motown: a history of jazz in Detroit, 1920-60

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During jazz's formative years, a surprisingly large number of influential performers hailed from Detroit and its environs. Much activity centered on the influence of Wayne State University's music ... Read full review

Contents

The Music of Black Detroit before Big Band Jazz
3
Detroit and the Creation of Big Band Jazz
23
Paradise Valley Days
37
Detroit and the Birth of Bop
61
Detroit Jazz Clubs in the 1950s
105
The Golden Age of Jazz in Detroit
123
From Jump Blues to Motown
169
A Summary
205
List of Interviews
209
Library Resources Used
211
List of Recommended CDs
213
Detroit Jazz Spots 192060
215
Abbreviations Used in Photo Captions
217
Name Index
219
Subject Index
233
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Lars Bjorn is Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan, Dearborn, & the author of numerous articles & publications about jazz music.

Jim Gallert is Vice President of the Jazz Aliance of Michigan & a veteran jazz broadcaster. He has been involved with the Detroit jazz scene for over twenty-five years.

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