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From the Publisher"In this comprehensive period study, Townsend (a British scholar) tackles the thorniest issues plaguing jazz scholarship: differences in conditions between black and white bands (in this case during a particular time period), the cross-fertilization of jazz and other popular musics, and critical acclaim versus commercial success. The swing era blossoms organically out of Townsend's detailed description of the status of the music business just prior to the event that plunged the US into WW II. As wartime shortages—evidenced, for example, by gas rationing and the famous recording ban—begin to interfere with the venues that contributed to the widespread popularity of the big bands, the era drops its petals, one at a time. Not succumbing to the temptation to focus exclusively on the war's impact on the development of jazz, Townsend takes each new challenge brought on by the war and compares its influence across all musical entertainment options. Anyone interested in American music should read this work in order to place events in their historical context; and anyone interested in American history should read it to understand how music shapes—and is shaped by—the time in which it is created. Summing Up: Essential. All readers; all levels."
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2008