Here is the book jazz lovers have eagerly awaited, the second volume of Gunther Schuller's monumental The History of Jazz. When the first volume, Early Jazz, appeared two decades ago, it immediately established itself as one of the seminal works on American music. Nat Hentoff called it "a remarkable breakthrough in musical analysis of jazz," and Frank Conroy, in The New York Times Book Review, praised it as "definitive.... A remarkable book by any standard...unparalleled in the literature of jazz." It has been universally recognized as the basic musical analysis of jazz from its beginnings until 1933.
The Swing Era focuses on that extraordinary period in American musical history--1933 to 1945--when jazz was synonymous with America's popular music, its social dances and musical entertainment. The book's thorough scholarship, critical perceptions, and great love and respect for jazz puts this well-remembered era of American music into new and revealing perspective. It examines how the arrangements of Fletcher Henderson and Eddie Sauter--whom Schuller equates with Richard Strauss as "a master of harmonic modulation"--contributed to Benny Goodman's finest work...how Duke Ellington used the highly individualistic trombone trio of Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton, Juan Tizol, and Lawrence Brown to enrich his elegant compositions...how Billie Holiday developed her horn-like instrumental approach to singing...and how the seminal compositions and arrangements of the long-forgotten John Nesbitt helped shape Swing Era styles through their influence on Gene Gifford and the famous Casa Loma Orchestra. Schuller also provides serious reappraisals of such often neglected jazz figures as Cab Calloway, Henry "Red" Allen, Horace Henderson, Pee Wee Russell, and Joe Mooney.
Much of the book's focus is on the famous swing bands of the time, which were the essence of the Swing Era. There are the great black bands--Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimmie Lunceford, Earl Hines, Andy Kirk, and the often superb but little known "territory bands"--and popular white bands like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsie, Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman, plus the first serious critical assessment of that most famous of Swing Era bandleaders, Glenn Miller. There are incisive portraits of the great musical soloists--such as Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Bunny Berigan, and Jack Teagarden--and such singers as Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Helen Forest.
Vol. II of Schuller's in-depth history of jazz (after Early Jazz, 1968). Early Jazz cut off at 1933, and covered an era that Schuller characterized as an age of restless curiosity in music. The volume at hand takes jazz up to the end of WW II, a period that saw the "establishment in jazz of a system of order, a sense of unity . . .resting on the foundations laid in the late 1920's." Thus, while "the swing era" is often viewed as standing alone as a particular expression of American culture - via the music of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, etc., all chronicled here - Schuller resists the temptation to isolate that era from both its antecedents and its heirs. An underlying theme here is the extent to which "swing" contained the germ of its own demise. While, as Schuller writes, "the greatness of jazz lies in the fact that it never ceases to develop and change," too many proponents of "swing" (represented by the average dance band of the period) concerned themselves with their own self-perpetuation: "It became in far too many instances a static music that never looked outside or beyond itself. Anxious only to hold onto its own order and stability, it was bound to petrify." Bursting with detail, but preachy and opinionated. For the flavor of jazz, best to turn to the literate writings of Gene Lees (Singers and the Song, 1987). Schuller, incidentally, promises a third volume, covering post-WW II "modern jazz." (Kirkus Reviews)
|The """"King"""" of Swing||p. 3|
|Duke Ellington Master Composer||p. 46|
|Louis Armstrong||p. 158|
|The Quintessence of Swing||p. 198|
|The Great Black Bands||p. 263|
|The Great Soloists||p. 426|
|The White Bands||p. 632|
|The Territory Bands||p. 770|
|Small Groups||p. 806|
|Things to Come||p. 844|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: History of Jazz
Number Of Pages: 944
Published: 1st September 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.7 x 15.7 x 4.7
Weight (kg): 1.29