Jazz in Mind
Essays on the History and Meanings of Jazz
PUBLISHER: Wayne State University Press
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The diversity of jazz writing represents the many interests brought to it. Like jazz itself, writing about jazz combines various points of view, purposes, and styles, and it must express strong personal engagement with the music. Jazz continues to penetrate elite culture and mainstream popular culture. Hence there is a growing interest in jazz as a subject of inquiry and criticism. Listeners and interpreters explore and often dispute standards of performance and the essentials of what will constitute the interpretation of
jazz and its history.
Jazz in Mind explores the impact of jazz, particularly on American culture, since World War II. The essays are written by leading scholars from the fields of music, literature, history, sociology, philosophy, and American
studies who share an interest in the application of scholarly methods to jazz themes. Representing both "pure" and "applied" approaches to jazz history and criticism, the book illustrates the vitality of written inquiry into jazz.
A variety of historical, philosophical, and literary themes are covered in Jazz in Mind. There is an essay on James Reese Europe and his relationship and that of his music to the actual development of jazz during the
period prior to 1920. The first black band leader to be offered a major recording contract, he opened an essential door for jazz without which the future development of the music would be inconceivable. In exploring the "self' presented by the jazz autobiographer, a second essay focuses on Louis Armstrong, jazz's most influential musician, and its first, and most prolific, black
autobiographer. In an unusual departure in jazz criticism, the uses of music in thinking about management and organizational life are considered. Other essays explore the history of jazz in the Soviet Union and the vital and energetic Soviet jazz scene today, the problems of local jazz history, the art of quotation in jazz, and the shifts in meaning with respect to the jazz tradition and the various ways in which jazz and modernism have been related.
PUBLICATION DATE: 11/1/1991