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Jazz : The American Theme Song - James Lincoln Collier

Jazz

The American Theme Song

Paperback Published: 1st January 1996
ISBN: 9780195096354
Number Of Pages: 336

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Praised by the Washington Post as a "tough, unblinkered critic," James Lincoln Collier is probably the most controversial writer on jazz today. His acclaimed biographies of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman continue to spark debate in jazz circles, and his iconoclastic articles on jazz over the past 30 years have attracted even more attention. With the publication of Jazz: The American Theme Song, Collier does nothing to soften his reputation for hard-hitting, incisive commentary. Questioning everything we think we know about jazz--its origins, its innovative geniuses, the importance of improvisation and spontaneous inspiration in a performance--and the jazz world, these ten provocative essays on the music and its place in American culture overturn tired assumptions and will alternately enrage, enlighten, and entertain.
Jazz: The American Theme Song offers music lovers razor-sharp analysis of musical trends and styles, and fearless explorations of the most potentially explosive issues in jazz today. In "Black, White, and Blue," Collier traces African and European influences on the evolution of jazz in a free-ranging discussion that takes him from the French colony of Saint Domingue (now Haiti) to the orderly classrooms where most music students study jazz today. He argues that although jazz was originally devised by blacks from black folk music, jazz has long been a part of the cultural heritage of musicians and audiences of all races and classes, and is not black music per se. In another essay, Collier provides a penetrating analysis of the evolution of jazz criticism, and casts a skeptical eye on the credibility of the emerging "jazz canon" of critical writing and popular history. "The problem is that even the best jazz scholars keep reverting to the fan mentality, suddenly bursting out of the confines of rigorous analysis into sentimental encomiums in which Hot Lips Smithers is presented as some combination of Santa Claus and the Virgin Mary," he maintains. "It is a simple truth that there are thousands of high school music students around the country who know more music theory than our leading jazz critics." Other, less inflammatory but no less intriguing, essays include explorations of jazz as an intrinsic and fundamental source of inspiration for American dance music, rock, and pop; the influence of show business on jazz, and vice versa; and the link between the rise of the jazz soloist and the new emphasis on individuality in the 1920s.
Impeccably researched and informed by Collier's wide-ranging intellect, Jazz: The American Theme Song is an important look at jazz's past, its present, and its uncertain future. It is a book everyone who cares about the music will want to read.

"Mr. Collier mounts an impressive examination of Creole culture."--The New York Times Book Review "A lively book....Collier writes knowledgeably about jazz culture and practice."--The Washington Post Book World "Collier, who has written biographies of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, is an engaging and often controversial critic....Collier argues clearly and concisely that jazz was originally created by African Americans but has long been part of the cultural heritage of other races and classes; that jazz criticism is too deeply mired in adulation, not insight; and that race is not a criterion for appreciating jazz."--Publishers Weely "Rewarding."--Booklist "As he discusses jazz, race relations, and popular culture, Collier questions the notion that jazz represents a generalized 'black culture' or 'black experience' and argues that Sidney Bechet, more than Louis Armstrong, transformed jazz from an ensemble music to a soloist's music. Collier further traces the evolution of jazz from a scorned bordello music to its acceptance as a university-level discipline. This well-written and well-researched study shows wide reading and an attention to scholarly accountability. Collier is an important music critic, and his book will enhance large music collections."--Library Journal "Among professional musicians and serious scholars of jazz, [Collier] is known for what he truly is--a poseur who attempts to elevate himself above his subject....Even his research is for camouflage, not illumination. No matter how many footnotes he uses, Mr. Collier is nothing more than a pompous social scientist who for too long has passed as a serious scholar of jazz music. That is why it is unfortunate that he was reviewed by a man apparently unaware of the contempt all who are seriously engaged in jazz feel for this viper in the bosom of blues and swing."--Wynton Marsalis "Bound to blow fresh winds through the jazz academy--and to please those interested in watching the feathers fly."--Kirkus Reviews "Provocative and engaging."--DISCoveries "Mr. Collier mounts an impressive examination of Creole culture."--The New York Times Book Review "A lively book....Collier writes knowledgeably about jazz culture and practice."--The Washington Post Book World "Collier, who has written biographies of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, is an engaging and often controversial critic....Collier argues clearly and concisely that jazz was originally created by African Americans but has long been part of the cultural heritage of other races and classes; that jazz criticism is too deeply mired in adulation, not insight; and that race is not a criterion for appreciating jazz."--Publishers Weely "Rewarding."--Booklist "As he discusses jazz, race relations, and popular culture, Collier questions the notion that jazz represents a generalized 'black culture' or 'black experience' and argues that Sidney Bechet, more than Louis Armstrong, transformed jazz from an ensemble music to a soloist's music. Collier further traces the evolution of jazz from a scorned bordello music to its acceptance as a university-level discipline. This well-written and well-researched study shows wide reading and an attention to scholarly accountability. Collier is an important music critic, and his book will enhance large music collections."--Library Journal "Among professional musicians and serious scholars of jazz, [Collier] is known for what he truly is--a poseur who attempts to elevate himself above his subject....Even his research is for camouflage, not illumination. No matter how many footnotes he uses, Mr. Collier is nothing more than a pompous social scientist who for too long has passed as a serious scholar of jazz music. That is why it is unfortunate that he was reviewed by a man apparently unaware of the contempt all who are seriously engaged in jazz feel for this viper in the bosom of blues and swing."--Wynton Marsalis "Bound to blow fresh winds through the jazz academy--and to please those interested in watching the feathers fly."--Kirkus Reviews "Provocative and engaging."--DISCoveries

The Inevitability of Jazz in Americap. 3
The Rise of Individualism and the Jazz Solop. 25
Going It Alonep. 49
Hot Rhythmp. 71
The Embrace of Show Businessp. 89
Art and the Academyp. 123
Jazz and Popp. 163
Black, White, and Bluep. 183
The Criticsp. 225
Local Jazzp. 263
Notesp. 277
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195096354
ISBN-10: 0195096355
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st January 1996
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.69 x 13.82  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.27