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In the 1920s, many black regional jazz bands were recorded and became products of the entertainment industry, which was altering the face of America from the handmade, homemade, homemade society of the ninteenth century to the mass-produced, mass-consumed technological culture of the twentieth century.
Making use of the files of African American newspapers, such as the Chicago Defender, as well as published and archival oral history interviews, Hennessey explores the contradictions that musicians often faced as African Americans, as trained professional musicians, and as the products of differing regional experiences. From Jazz to Swing follows jazz from its beginnings in the regional black musics of the turn of the century in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and the territories that make up the rest of the country.