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Histories of Jazz?

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yoshomon
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Oct 26 2007 17:40
Histories of Jazz?

I'm looking for good histories of jazz, both histories of early jazz as well as 'modern jazz'. Any suggestions?

j.rogue
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Oct 26 2007 17:44

I found Ken Burn's documentary interesting, to be honest.

Mike Harman
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Oct 26 2007 17:48

Leroi Jones - Blues People is good (Black Music is also good although not really a history).

Charles Mingus' autobiography Beneath the Underdog - not really a history but it's a good read.

er.. there aren't that many I'd class as "good". Anything particular you're after?

Mike Harman
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Oct 26 2007 17:49
j.rogue wrote:
I found Ken Burn's documentary interesting, to be honest.

interesting maybe, but it's also completely fucked up by Marsalis' interest. It's like reading a Trot book on Kronstadt or something.

lem
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Oct 26 2007 17:58

any decent k*ra* jazz that anyone ca recommend? smile

j.rogue
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Oct 26 2007 18:16
Mike Harman wrote:
j.rogue wrote:
I found Ken Burn's documentary interesting, to be honest.

interesting maybe, but it's also completely fucked up by Marsalis' interest. It's like reading a Trot book on Kronstadt or something.

Haha, yeah, I can see that. Still, pretty comprehensive. I love the bit about Billie Holiday getting into a fistfight.

Mike Harman
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Oct 26 2007 18:23

Also it stops in like 1950 something, like that fucking George Woodcock "History of Anarchism" book.

Yoshomon - you want social/cultural history, or you want more of a listening guide/musicology?

Randy
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Oct 26 2007 20:40

I found The History of Jazz by Ted Giola pretty useful, when discovering jazz from scratch. Although looking back, the omission of Paul Desmond makes me wonder what other geniuses were overlooked.

edit: added Paul Desmond link

j.rogue
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Oct 26 2007 21:10
Mike Harman wrote:
Also it stops in like 1950 something, like that fucking George Woodcock "History of Anarchism" book.

Does it? I thought I remembered it going up through the 60s. Or maybe I just don't listen to later jazz so I didn't really notice the omission.

edited to add: Wikipedia says it goes up to 2001, though I don't think I saw that last episode (1961-2001)

Mike Harman
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Oct 26 2007 21:19

The last episode is a hatchet job on just about everything other than Wynton, so effectively it stops in the '50s.

severin
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Oct 26 2007 22:03

There is an essential proto-history of American popular music entitled "Where Dead Voices Gather" by the American author Nick Tosches.

Ostensibly a biography of the minstrel singer Emmett Miller, it actually traces the roots of jazz, blues and country back to the minstrel traditions which sprouted in the U.S. as early as the late 18th century, and points to an era in the early 20th cent. where the various genres were actually in some ways all manifest in the same recordings. A fascinating read and rigorously researched.

yoshomon
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Oct 27 2007 03:40

I'm interested in a social history of early jazz (I have unsupported theories about the origins in jazz and class struggle in New Orleans that I'm hoping to substantiate) and more cultural/musical histories of later jazz because I'm interested in the evolution of the music - the emergence of bebop and free jazz and so on. I've been attending these very pleasant weekly jazz events and it got me wanting more, plus I'm relearning the trumpet and have a need to learn a bit about the history of everything I do.

j.rogue
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Oct 27 2007 03:53
yoshomon wrote:
I have unsupported theories about the origins in jazz and class struggle in New Orleans that I'm hoping to substantiate

I'm curious to hear about this

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Hieronymous
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Oct 27 2007 08:08
yoshomon wrote:
I'm looking for good histories of jazz, both histories of early jazz as well as 'modern jazz'. Any suggestions?

I'd suggest any histories that you can find by Nat Hentoff. I think his writing is good and he was something of a radical.

Mike Harman
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Oct 27 2007 08:29

Nat Hentoff's alright yeah.

Yoshomon, you definitely want those two Leroi Jones/Amiri Braraka books. Will think about more. Also the "started in New Orleans and travelled up the river" is a bit of a myth anyway.

Probably for early jazz you might do well with biographies - Freddie Keppard, Jelly Roll Morton etc.but I don't have specific recommendations.

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Red Marriott
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Oct 27 2007 11:49
Mike Harman wrote:
Probably for early jazz you might do well with biographies - Freddie Keppard, Jelly Roll Morton etc.but I don't have specific recommendations.

Sidney Bechet's 'Treat It Gentle' is a great book on early jazz.

Randy
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Oct 27 2007 15:28
Ret Marut wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Probably for early jazz you might do well with biographies - Freddie Keppard, Jelly Roll Morton etc.but I don't have specific recommendations.

Sidney Bechet's 'Treat It Gentle' is a great book on early jazz.

I have that book, but it hasn't risen to the top of the pile yet. I'll hunt it up soon.

The Horn by John Clellon Holmes is fiction, not what Yosh is after. But it is an amazing book.

yoshomon
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Oct 27 2007 17:38

Just to toss in a recommendation of my own... it's been a long time since I read them, but I really liked Louis Armstrong's autobiographies.

yoshomon
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Oct 27 2007 17:49
j.rogue wrote:
yoshomon wrote:
I have unsupported theories about the origins in jazz and class struggle in New Orleans that I'm hoping to substantiate

I'm curious to hear about this

Well, it's interesting to me that the 'birth of jazz' coincided pretty closely with the general strike in New Orleans in 1892 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1892_New_Orleans_general_strike ), which was multi-racial. Blues was also brought to New Orleans largely by dock workers from other areas in the south, and the docks in New Orleans were in many ways the focal point of class struggle in the city since they were the most important sector economically. The docks were also filled with Wobblies in the early 20th century.

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Red Marriott
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Oct 28 2007 18:14

My understanding is that the more middle class creole blacks, who had formal music training, brought marches and ragtime influences into jazz while lower class blacks brought to it the more folk, blues and improvising elements. (That was partly about those who did and didn't read music, but not completely - as Armstrong, for example, learned to play and read music in the orphanage band.) When these two strains started to merge, jazz emerged.

j.rogue
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Oct 28 2007 18:31

Oh but didn't Jelly Roll Morton invent it all by himself?

David in Atlanta
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Oct 30 2007 00:52

Speaking of jazz history, NOLA Cops Arrest 2nd-Line Band Members During Funeral
About the only person before him Jellyroll recognized was Buddy Bolden Mr. Funky Butt.

I'd add to the list Really the Blues by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe.
and as a side note, Burns, while well-meaning and a talented film maker, is something of an American exceptionalist and very much a liberal.

yoshomon
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Oct 30 2007 02:09
j.rogue wrote:
Oh but didn't Jelly Roll Morton invent it all by himself?

I don't think anyone invented anything "all by themselves" but definitely not Morton with jazz. Jazz, like everything else, didn't come from nowhere. (Sorry if this reply sounds rude... you were probably being sarcastic...)

j.rogue
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Oct 30 2007 20:59
yoshomon wrote:
j.rogue wrote:
Oh but didn't Jelly Roll Morton invent it all by himself?

I don't think anyone invented anything "all by themselves" but definitely not Morton with jazz. Jazz, like everything else, didn't come from nowhere. (Sorry if this reply sounds rude... you were probably being sarcastic...)

Yes.

Uncontrollable
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Oct 31 2007 03:04

Free Jazz and Free Improvisation [Two Volumes]: An Encyclopedia
-Todd S. Jenkins
http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR9881.aspx

As Serious As Your Life
-Valerie Wilmer
http://www.amazon.com/As-Serious-Your-Life-Coltrane/dp/1852427302