Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema

Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema

by Krin Gabbard
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226277895

ISBN-13: 9780226277899

Pub. Date: 05/28/1996

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

American cinema has long been fascinated by jazz and jazz musicians. Yet most jazz films aren't really about jazz. Rather, as Krin Gabbard shows, they create images of racial and sexual identity, many of which have become inseparable from popular notions of the music itself. In Jammin' at the Margins, Gabbard scrutinizes these films, exploring the fundamental…  See more details below

Overview

American cinema has long been fascinated by jazz and jazz musicians. Yet most jazz films aren't really about jazz. Rather, as Krin Gabbard shows, they create images of racial and sexual identity, many of which have become inseparable from popular notions of the music itself. In Jammin' at the Margins, Gabbard scrutinizes these films, exploring the fundamental obsessions that American culture has brought to jazz in the cinema.

Gabbard's close look at jazz film biographies, from The Jazz Singer to Bird, reveals Hollywood's reluctance to acknowledge black subjectivity. Black and even white jazz artists have become vehicles for familiar Hollywood conceptions of race, gender, and sexuality. Even Scorsese's New York, New York and Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues have failed to disentangle themselves from entrenched stereotypes and conventions.

Gabbard also examines Hollywood's confrontation with jazz as an elite art form, and the role of the jazz trumpet as a crucial signifier of masculinity. Finally, he considers the acting careers of Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Hoagy Carmichael; Duke Ellington's extraordinary work in films from 1929 until the late 1960s; and the forgotten career of Kay Kyser, star of nine Hollywood films and leader of a popular swing band.

This insightful look at the marriage of jazz and film is a major contribution to film, jazz, and cultural studies.

Krin Gabbard is associate professor of comparative literature at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and author of Psychiatry and the Cinema, published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226277899
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Edition description:
1
Pages:
350
Sales rank:
1,440,856
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction : Whose Jazz, Whose Cinema?1
1The Ethnic Oedipus: The Jazz Singer and Its Remakes35
2Black and Tan Fantasies: The Jazz Biopic64
3Jazz Becomes Art101
4Signifyin(g) the Phallus: Representations of the Jazz Trumpet138
5Duke's Place: Visualizing a Jazz Composer160
6"Actor and Musician": Louis Armstrong and His Films204
7Nat King Cole, Hoagy Carmichael, and the Fate of the Jazz Actor239
Conclusion: New York, New York and Short Cuts266
Notes297
Bibliography315
Index329

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