Making the Scene: Contemporary New York City Big Band Jazz / Edition 1

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Overview

The received wisdom of popular jazz history is that the era of the big band was in the 1930s and '40s, when swing was at its height. Making the Scene challenges conventional jazz historiography by demonstrating the vital role of big bands in the ongoing development of jazz. Identifying over eighty contemporary big bands in New York City alone, Alex Stewart describes how jazz musicians have found big bands valuable, not only as compositional and skill-building resources but also for making social contacts. In addition he explores the rich "rehearsal band" scene in New York and the rise of repertory orchestras. A rare example of holistic approach to musicology, Making the Scene combines historical research, ethnography, and participant observation with musical analysis, ethnic studies, and gender theory to dismantle stereotypical views of the big band. A jazzman himself, Stewart discusses the creative interactions of composers and improvising musicians, and shares insider perspectives on contemporary big bands from avant-garde and Latin ensembles to mainstream jazz orchestras.

About the Author:
Alex Stewart is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Vermont

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Editorial Reviews

Music Educators Journal
“A gold mine of information. . . . Stewart takes his knowledge of, and observations on, the subject and weaves them into a compelling narrative.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520249547
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/2/2007
  • Series: Roth Family Foundation Music in America
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Stewart, a former freelance jazz musician, is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Vermont.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     ix
List of Tables     xi
Preface     xiii
Author's Note     xvii
Intro     1
New York City Big Band Scenes     25
Behind the Scenes: Training, Rehearsals, and Gigs     40
The Rise of Repertory Orchestras     61
On the Inside: The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra     90
Making It Work: Leaders and Musical Direction     118
New Directions in Jazz Composition: Three Portraits     132
On the Edge: Sue Mingus and the Mingus Big Band     176
"In the Crack" to "Totally Outside": Avant-Garde Bands     203
Jazz and Clave: Latin Big Bands     227
Going for It: All-Women Bands     257
Blood on the Fields: Wynton Marsalis and the Transformation of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra     278
Outro     309
Some New York City Big Bands Active in 1997-1998     315
Notes     317
Sources     355
Selected Discography     369
Credits     373
Index     375
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