Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History


Featuring more than seventy thought-provoking selections drawn from contemporary journalism, reviews, program notes, memoirs, interviews, and other sources, Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History, Second Edition, brings to life the controversies and critical issues that have accompanied more than 100 years of jazz history. This unique volume gives voice to a wide range of perspectives which stress different reactions to and uses of jazz, both within and across communities, enabling readers to see that jazz is not...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $31.21   
  • New (8) from $35.79   
  • Used (5) from $31.21   
Sending request ...


Featuring more than seventy thought-provoking selections drawn from contemporary journalism, reviews, program notes, memoirs, interviews, and other sources, Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History, Second Edition, brings to life the controversies and critical issues that have accompanied more than 100 years of jazz history. This unique volume gives voice to a wide range of perspectives which stress different reactions to and uses of jazz, both within and across communities, enabling readers to see that jazz is not just about names, dates, and chords, but rather about issues and ideas, cultural activities, and experiences that have affected people deeply in a great variety of ways. Selections include contributions from well-known figures such as Jelly Roll Morton, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis; from renowned writers including Langston Hughes, Norman Mailer, and Ralph Ellison; and from critics and historians ranging from Gunther Schuller and Christopher Small to Sherrie Tucker and George Lipsitz. Filled with insightful writing, Keeping Time aims to increase historical awareness, to provoke critical thinking, and to encourage lively classroom discussion as students relive the intriguing story of jazz.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No other source than Keeping Time gives such a rich choice of material relating to the social, cultural, historical, and economic conditions of jazz."—Peter Winkler, Stony Brook University

"The single most valuable jazz-history resource (print or otherwise) available today."—David Ake, University of Nevada, Reno

"Walser offers a much greater range of ideas and topics and a more solid critical approach [than other collections on jazz]."—Geoffrey Block, University of Puget Sound

Library Journal
These two compilations take very different approaches to understanding jazz. Keeping Time is a fairly traditional documentary history, using newspaper and magazine articles, interviews, and excerpts from autobiographies and secondary accounts. After explaining the early years of the music, Walser, chair of musicology at UCLA, provides fascinating material dealing with the jazz age in the 1920s, swing in the Thirties, and bebop in the Forties. The book is less convincing on the hard-bop 1950s, provides very little information on the avant-garde in the next decade, and largely ignores Seventies fusion. It ends with an excellent outline of the Wynton Marsalis-led return to traditionalism in the 1980s and a more general, less satisfying examination of jazz today. The Jazz Cadence of America attempts to show the reciprocal effects of jazz and American culture on each other. After dealing with definitions of "jazz," O'Meally (American literature, Columbia; Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, LJ 11/1/91) traces the place of jazz in American society; the influence of the music on painting, architecture, photography, film, and dance; jazz history from different perspectives; and the impact of jazz on literature. Some sections provide fascinating insights into the relationship of jazz to the other arts, especially painting and literature. However, the book seldom shows the connection between jazz and American society or the effect of other aspects of American culture on jazz. Despite obvious flaws, The Jazz Cadence offers an innovative approach to understanding jazz within a larger social context. Complementing each other with little overlap, these two compilations are recommended as classroom texts.--David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199765775
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/27/2014
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 796,526
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Edited by Robert Walser, Professor of Music, Case Western Reserve University

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

First Accounts
1. Sidney Bechet's Musical Philosophy
2. "Whence Comes Jass?" Walter Kingsley
3. The Location of "Jass," New Orleans Times-Picayune
4. A "Serious" Musician Takes Jazz Seriously, Ernest Ansermet
5. "A Negro Explains 'Jazz,'" James Reese Europe
6. "Jazzing Away Prejudice," Chicago Defender
7. Mister Jelly Roll, Jelly Roll Morton
The Twenties
8. Jazzing Around the Globe, Burnet Hershey
9. "Does Jazz Put the Sin in Syncopation?" Anne Shaw Faulkner
10. Jazz and African Music, Nicholas G.J. Ballanta-Taylor
11. Sexual Politics of Women's Blues, Hazel B. Carby
12. The Man Who Made a Lady Out of Jazz (Paul Whiteman), Hugh C. Ernst
13. "The Jazz Problem," The Etude
14. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Langston Hughes
15. A Black Journalist Criticizes Jazz, Dave Peyton
16. "The Caucasian Storms Harlem," Rudolph Fisher
17. The Appeal of Jazz Explained, R.W.S. Mendl
The Thirties
18. What Is Swing? Louis Armstrong
19. Looking Back at "The Jazz Age," Alain Locke
20. Defining "Hot Jazz," Robert Goffin
21. Black Music in Our Culture, John Hammond
22. Lady Sings the Blues, Billie Holiday and William F. Dufty
23. Jazz at Carnegie Hall, James Dugan and John Hammond
24. Duke Ellington Explains Swing
25. Jazz and Gender During the War Years, Down Beat
The Forties
26. "Red Music," Josef Skvorecky
27. "From Somewhere in France," Charles Delaunay
28. "Upside Your Head!" Johnny Otis
29. Jazz: A People's Music, Sidney Finkelstein
30. "Bop is Nowhere," D. Leon Wolff and Louis Armstrong
31. To Be or Not to Bop, Dizzy Gillespie
32. The Golden Age, Times Past, Ralph Ellison
33. The Professional Dance Musician and His Audience, Howard S. Becker
The Fifties
34. Perspectives in Jazz, Marshall Stearns
35. Jazz: Its Evolution and Essence, Andre Hodeir
36. Musings: The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller
37. "Beneath the Underdog," Charles Mingus
38. Psychoanalyzing Jazz, Miles D. Miller
39. Vatican is Asked to Rule on Jazz, Paul Hofmann
40. US Has Secret Weapon - Jazz, Felix Belair, Jr.
41. "The White Negro," Norman Mailer
42. Louis Armstrong on Music and Politics
The Sixties
43. "Free Jazz," Ornet Coleman
44. "Jazz and the White Critic," LeRoi Jones
45. The Playboy Panel: Jazz, Today and Tomorrow
The Seventies
46 . Jamey Aebersold, "The Scale Syllabus"
47. What Jazz Means to Me, Max Roach
48. Stomping the Blues, Albert Murray
49. Notes (8 Pieces), Wadada Leo Smith
50. Jazz Pop - A "Failed Art Music" Makes Good, Robert Palmer
The Eighties
51. Jazz: "America's Classical Music," William "Billy" Taylor
52. "A Rare National Treasure," U.S. Congress
53. Interview with Wynton Marsalis and Herbie Hancock
54. Music of the Common Tongue: Survival and Celebration in Afro-American Music, Christopher Small
The Ninties
55. Who Listens to Jazz?
56. "Free Jazz" Revisited, Ornet Coleman
57. Ring Shout! Samuel A. Floyd Jr.
58. Ferociously Harmonizing with Reality, Keith Jarrett
59. Constructing the Jazz Tradition, Scott DeVeaux
60. "Local Jazz," James Lincoln Collier
61. "Out of Notes": Signification, Interpretation, and the Problem of Miles Davis, Robert Walser
62. "What Makes 'Jazz' the Revolutionary Music of the 20th Century, and Will It Be Revolutionary for the
63. Improvised Music After 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives, George E. Lewis
64. "Resistance Is Futile!" Sarah Rodman
65. "Music and Language," Brad Mehldau
66. "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't in the History Books," Sherrie Tucker
67. Three Polemics on the State of Jazz, Stanley Crouch
68. The Jazz Left, Herman S. Gray
69. Songs of the Unsung: The Darby Hicks History of Jazz, George Lipsitz
70. Exploding the Narrative in Jazz Improvisation, Vijay Iyer
71. Celebrating the Global: The Nordic Tone in Jazz, Stuart Nicholson
72. "Who Listens to Jazz Now?" National Endowment for the Arts

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)