Jazz: A History

Jazz: A History

Jazz: A History

Jazz: A History

Synopsis

This book is not a recounting of ancedotes nor a simple chronology of musical events, but a history. It evaluates the gathered evidence and draws conclusions. Its narrative and summaries are based on repeated careful listenings to thouands of recordings, on the reports of musicians who witnessed and experienced many of the crucial events and created some of the masterworks, and on the fresh research and insightful thought of hundreds of serious scholars who love and respect this music.

Excerpt

Jazz is a democratic music in the best sense of the word, for it is the collective achievement of a people. It is not the diversion of an elite aristocracy—it emerged from humble beginnings to be shared by rich and poor alike. It is a participative music, a communal event of listeners and performers, and its proponents and practitioners come from every walk of life. The performance and enjoyment of jazz embodies those principles of equality of rights, access of opportunity, and fair treatment that are taken for granted by all people of a free society. Its language is direct and expressive, can be both simple or eloquent, and requires an interaction between player and listener where even the listener must participate actively.

Every live performance of a jazz work is new, exciting, and challenging, and the classic recorded performances can help us develop discriminating taste and increase our enjoyment through informed, repeated, attentive listening. This book is intended to serve as a guide to the music and as an interpretation of the historical interaction that has taken place among jazz musicians, the music, and society. It is a survey of the historical development of this music from its African precursors to its current living exponents. To profit from this book, the reader must become a serious listener and pay careful attention to the music. Fortunately, doing that is not a burden but an immense pleasure.

Jazz is a beautiful music, an American music, an art form that has influenced creative thought throughout the world. The peoples of Great Britain, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Near and Far East, Australia, and all of North and South America are now participants in its story. They have made important contributions to the music, to its roster of important . . .

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