Jazz in American Culture

Front Cover
Edinburgh University Press, 2000 - Jazz - 193 pages

Jazz in American Cultureoffers an informed and entertaining introduction to jazz - one of the great musical cultures of the world.

The book looks at jazz both as a music and as a culture within the wider American context, and aims to open up the subject to the non-specialist. It examines the social and institutional structures that have underpinned the music at particular stages in its history, from the 1930s through to the present, and considers its place as a component of the entertainment industry. Among the musicians introduced are Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday and Lester Young.

Peter Townsend's distinctive approach to his subject includes a consideration of representations of jazz in other art forms, including films and literary texts, such as the fiction of Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac and Toni Morrison, and the poetry of Langston Hughes. He also introduces the work of jazz-influenced painters such as Stuart Davis and Jackson Pollock, and discusses the significance of photography in jazz.

The book also explores the influence of jazz on other art forms, the 'mythology' of jazz, its place in consumer culture and its relation to a number of issues, such as ethnicity and individualism, that have affected American art and society.

This book will be of lasting interest to anyone with a passion for jazz music.

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About the author (2000)

After a premature start to life on a bathroom floor in London, Pete Townsend decided to become a writer during a maths lesson at Primary school. His literary career eventually began as a bedroom furniture salesman, quickly followed by a stint in TV sales, a textile factory and two hours on abuilding site. After three years of digesting granular coffee at University, he emerged as a Politics graduate with a little knowledge that was supposed to go a long way. Almost surviving employment in Secondary education, he now works as a freelance writer. With over twenty publications andnumerous articles on subjects he knows nothing about, Pete still enjoys playing jazz and blues wherever he can find an audience.

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