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Townsend, Peter Jazz in American Culture ISBN 13: 9781578063246

Jazz in American Culture - Softcover

 
9781578063246: Jazz in American Culture
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The family of musical styles known as jazz came into being around 1900 as several popular black musical idioms coalesced. This free-flowing, spontaneous music based in improvisation emerged primarily from ragtime and the blues. But jazz did not remain solely in the domain of American music, for very quickly it swept through virtually all of the national culture as fiction, poetry, film, photography, painting, and classical music came under its spell. If it's art that expresses a nation's essence best, then jazz set America's tempo and afforded an artistic pattern for modernism. In this book for the nonspecialist Peter Townsend shows how during an entire century jazz has appeared in a wide diversity of times and places and in many different cultural settings. He reveals how jazz surfaced early in America's movies (The Jazz Singer, Strike Up the Band, Orchestra Wives, Blues in the Night) and how it became an aesthetic model serious composers (George Gershwin, Aaron Copland) did not miss. Jazz has punctuated literary fiction (Ralph Ellison, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison) and American poetry (William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, Percy Johnson). Jazz influenced painting (Jackson Pollock, Romare Bearden, Stuart Davis, Archibald Motley, and Jimmy Ernst), and several photographers have devoted their careers to documenting jazz performers and their music scene (William Claxton, William Gottlieb, Roy De Carava, Carol Reiff). Townsend probes the deep-rooted mythology that holds jazz as indefinable, unteachable, and instinctive with blacks but tough for whites and that its birthplace was New Orleans brothels, that its musicians live tragic lives, and that jazz is dominated by males and despises whiffs of the mainstream. As modernism swayed to the tempos of jazz and adapted to its modes, the once clearly defined lines of demarcation faded and jazz became well established as one of the great musical cultures of the world. Peter Townsend is a senior lecturer in the School of Music and Humanities at the University of Huddersfield in England. Copublished with Edinburgh University Press For sale in the U.S.A., Canada, and U.S. dependencies only

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It is quite some time since I found a scholarly tract on jazz both so invigoratingly instructive and enjoyable to read...like all really good writers Townsend has the ability to render complex and even daunting material readily accessible, thanks to a lucid style further strengthened by an instinctive eye for sharp detail and apposite quotation. A detailed account of the history and theory of jazz music that is broad and deep but still greatly accessible. ! Townsend's discussion of jazz's influences on writers such as Scott Fitzgerald and Jack Kerouac are enlightening and accessible. Townsend challenges the curious reader to go beyond a traditional understanding of what music is and does and look at it in a broader social context. Townsend's writings on jazz are presented in a different way. He looks at how jazz went beyond music and infiltrated culture. His essays show how jazz is represented in other art forms, including film and literary text such as the fiction of Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac and Toni Morrison, along with the poetry of Langston Hughes.Townsend also introduces the work of jazz-influenced painters such as Stuart Davis and Jackson Pollock and discusses the significance of photography in jazz. An outstanding book! Readable, knowledgeable and insightful. I read it from cover to cover once I started it. -- Dr Tim Wall, University of Central England It is quite some time since I found a scholarly tract on jazz both so invigoratingly instructive and enjoyable to read...like all really good writers Townsend has the ability to render complex and even daunting material readily accessible, thanks to a lucid style further strengthened by an instinctive eye for sharp detail and apposite quotation. A detailed account of the history and theory of jazz music that is broad and deep but still greatly accessible. ! Townsend's discussion of jazz's influences on writers such as Scott Fitzgerald and Jack Kerouac are enlightening and accessible. Townsend challenges the curious reader to go beyond a traditional understanding of what music is and does and look at it in a broader social context. Townsend's writings on jazz are presented in a different way. He looks at how jazz went beyond music and infiltrated culture. His essays show how jazz is represented in other art forms, including film and literary text such as the fiction of Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac and Toni Morrison, along with the poetry of Langston Hughes.Townsend also introduces the work of jazz-influenced painters such as Stuart Davis and Jackson Pollock and discusses the significance of photography in jazz. An outstanding book! Readable, knowledgeable and insightful. I read it from cover to cover once I started it.

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9781578063239: Jazz in American Culture

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ISBN 10:  157806323X ISBN 13:  9781578063239
Publisher: Univ Pr of Mississippi, 2001
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  • 9781853312045: Jazz in American Culture (British Association for American Studies (BAAS) Paperbacks)

    Keele ..., 2000
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