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Jazz TimesO'Meally's volume is the first to focus exclusively on the rich interdisciplinary commentary that jazz has inspired over the decades.... Impressive and thoughtfully assembled.
— Mark Tucker
Taking to heart Ralph Ellison's remark that much in American life is "jazz-shaped," The Jazz Cadence of American Culture offers a wide range of eloquent statements about the influence of this art form. Robert G. O'Meally has gathered a comprehensive collection of important essays, speeches, and interviews on the impact of jazz on other arts, on politics, and on the rhythm of everyday life. Focusing mainly on American artistic expression from 1920 to 1970, O'Meally confronts a long era of political and artistic turbulence and change in which American art forms influenced one another in unexpected ways.
Organized thematically, these provocative pieces include an essay considering poet and novelist James Weldon Johnson as a cultural critic, an interview with Wynton Marsalis, a speech on the heroic image in jazz, and a newspaper review of a recent melding of jazz music and dance, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. From Stanley Crouch to August Wilson to Jacqui Malone, the plurality of voices gathered here reflects the variety of expression within jazz.
The book's opening section sketches the overall place of jazz in America. Alan P. Merriam and Fradley H. Garner unpack the word jazz and its register, Albert Murray considers improvisation in music and life, Amiri Baraka argues that white critics misunderstand jazz, and Stanley Crouch cogently dissects the intersections of jazz and mainstream American democratic institutions. After this, the book takes an interdisciplinary approach, exploring jazz and the visual arts, dance, sports, history, memory, and literature. Ann Douglas writes on jazz's influence on the design and construction of skyscrapers in the 1920s and '30s, Zora Neale Hurston considers the significance of African-American dance, Michael Eric Dyson looks at the jazz of Michael Jordan's basketball game, and Hazel Carby takes on the sexual politics of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith's blues.
The Jazz Cadence offers a wealth of insight and information for scholars, students, jazz aficionados, and any reader wishing to know more about this music form that has put its stamp on American culture more profoundly than any other in the twentieth century.
Columbia University Press
Winner of 1999 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Special Recognition Award, Pop Books category
— Mark Tucker
— Jerome Klinkowitz
O'Meally has assembled an impressive anthology that achieves an almost synesthetic rendering of jazz...the best designed reference book on the topic to date. It should be in every library.
What is jazz? Introduction Jazz—The Word, by Alan P. Merriam and Fradley H. GarnerForward Motion: An Interview with Benny Golson, by Benny Golson and Jim MerodJames A. SneadBlack Music as an Art Form, by Olly WilsonRemembering Thelonious Monk: When the Music Was Happening Then He'd Get Up and Do His Little Dance, by Quincy Troupe and Ben RileyImprovisation and the Creative Process, by Albert MurrayOne Nation Under a Groove; or, the United States of JazzocracyIntroductionWhat's American About America, by John KouwenhovenJazz and the White Critic, by Amiri BarakaDuke Ellington Music Like a Big Hot Pot of Good Gumbo, by Wynton Marsalis and Robert G. O'MeallyBlues to Be Constitutional: A Long Look at the Wild Wherefores of Our Democratic Lives as Symbolized in the Making of Rhythm and Tune, by Stanley CrouchThe Ellington Programme, by Barry UlanovJazz Lines and Colors: The Sound I SawIntroductionArt History and Black Memory: Toward a Blues Aesthetic, by Richard J. PowellSkyscrapers, Airplanes, and Airmindedness: The Necessary Angel, by Ann DouglasCalvin TomkinsCelebration, by Sherry Turner DeCaravaBlack Visual Intonation, by Arthur JafaImprovisation in Jazz, by Bill EvansJazz is a Dance: Jazz art in MotionIntroductionJazz Music in Motion: Dancers and Big Bands, by Jacqui MaloneCharacteristics of Negro Expression, by Zora Neale HurstonAfrican Art and Motion, by Robert Farris ThompsonBe Like Mike? Michael Jordan and the Pedagogy of Desire, by Michael Eric DysonNoise Taps a Historic Route to Joy, by Margo JeffersonTell the Story: Jazz, History, MemoryIntroductionPulp and Circumstance: The Story of Jazz in High Places, by Gerald EarlyJazz and American Culture, by Lawrence W. LevineThe Golden Age, Time Past, by Ralph EllisonDouble V, Double-Time: Bebop's Politics of Style, by Eric LottIt Jus Be's Dat Way Sometime: The Sexual Politics of Women's Blues, by Hazel V. CarbyOther: From Noun to Verb, by Nathaniel MackeyWriting the Blues, Writing JazzIntroductionThe Blues as Folk Poetry, by Sterling A. BrownRichard Wright's Blues, by Ralph EllisonPreface to Three Plays, by August WilsonThe Function of the Heroic Image, by Albert MurrayThe Seemingly Eclipsed Window of Form: James Weldon Johnson's Prefaces, by Brent EdwardsSound and Sentiment, Sound and Symbol, by Nathaniel Mackey
Columbia University Press