BN.com Gift Guide

Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.59
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 77%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $5.59   
  • New (8) from $22.50   
  • Used (5) from $5.59   

Overview

Subversive Sounds probes New Orleans’s history, uncovering a web of racial interconnections and animosities that was instrumental to the creation of a vital American art form—jazz. Drawing on oral histories, police reports, newspaper accounts, and vintage recordings, Charles Hersch brings to vivid life the neighborhoods and nightspots where jazz was born.

This volume shows how musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton, Nick La Rocca, and Louis Armstrong negotiated New Orleans’s complex racial rules to pursue their craft and how, in order to widen their audiences, they became fluent in a variety of musical traditions from diverse ethnic sources. These encounters with other music and races subverted their own racial identities and changed the way they played—a musical miscegenation that, in the shadow of Jim Crow, undermined the pursuit of racial purity and indelibly transformed American culture.

“More than timely . . . Hersch orchestrates voices of musicians on both sides of the racial divide in underscoring how porous the music made the boundaries of race and class.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune

 

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Times-Picayune
A provocative new history. . . . Hersch illuminates how musicians of color drew from realities that few white people experienced in forging a form of dance music for people of both races. In that sense, Subversive Sounds is more than timely. . . . Tapping oral histories from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane, Hersch orchestrates voices of musicians on both sides of the racial divide in underscoring how porous the music made the boundaries of race and class. He writes, too, with an edgy sense of how music functioned.

— Jason Berry

Choice

"An important contribution to the social history of New Orleans and jazz."
Perspectives on Politics

"[Hersch's] argument is convincing, his writing engaging, and his musical analyses compelling and seductive."
All about Jazz
Hersch has the grasp of time and place that is the hallmark of all the most worthwhile historians. He has brought that to bear effectively here, and the results are illuminating for anyone wanting to understand how this music called jazz came to be.

— Nic Jones

American Historical Review
Exhaustive research informs [the author's] tightly orchestrated analysis of musical performances and deft portraits of individual musicians, which stand out amid the richly textured descriptions of New Orleans life.

— Iain Anderson

The Wire
A novel discussion of a surprisingly neglected issue, whose suggestions are well worth pondering.

— Andy Hamilton

William Howland Kenney

"This is a fresh and original analysis of the context of the birth of jazz. In addition to offering a new and intellectually stimulating interpretation of the role of race, politics, and social class in the music’s origins, Hersch is the first in over a generation to delve deeply into the racial aspects of the lives and work of the earliest jazz musicians in New Orleans."

John Gennari

Subversive Sounds underscores the importance of thinking in subtle, complex, and nuanced ways about the relationship between jazz and race. Engagingly written and cleverly framed, Hersch's work displays ample skill and vision while showing us how profoundly race mattered in early New Orleans jazz. This valuable and important book belongs on the top shelf of new jazz studies.”
Krin Gabbard

Subversive Sounds is as thoroughly researched as it is groundbreaking. In his study of New Orleans jazz, Charles Hersch is scrupulously sensitive to the music, but he has also surveyed the birthplace of jazz with the keen eye of a social historian. I was especially impressed by his willingness to consider the role of white players—as well as black and Creole musicians—in the racial politics of early jazz.”
Times-Picayune - Jason Berry

"A provocative new history. . . . Hersch illuminates how musicians of color drew from realities that few white people experienced in forging a form of dance music for people of both races. In that sense, Subversive Sounds is more than timely. . . . Tapping oral histories from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane, Hersch orchestrates voices of musicians on both sides of the racial divide in underscoring how porous the music made the boundaries of race and class. He writes, too, with an edgy sense of how music functioned."
The Wire - Andy Hamilton

"A novel discussion of a surprisingly neglected issue, whose suggestions are well worth pondering."
All about Jazz - Nic Jones

"Hersch has the grasp of time and place that is the hallmark of all the most worthwhile historians. He has brought that to bear effectively here, and the results are illuminating for anyone wanting to understand how this music called jazz came to be."
American Historical Review - Iain Anderson

"Exhaustive research informs [the author's] tightly orchestrated analysis of musical performances and deft portraits of individual musicians, which stand out amid the richly textured descriptions of New Orleans life."
The Wire
"A novel discussion of a surprisingly neglected issue, whose suggestions are well worth pondering."

— Andy Hamilton

Library Journal

Hersch (political science, Cleveland State Univ.; Democratic Artworks) explores turn-of-the-century New Orleans, when Jim Crow segregation laws were forcing America into a binary of races. At the same time, a wide spectrum of musicians, audiences, and venues juxtaposed African, European, American, and Latin music and through modification and reinterpretation (or signifying), they created a unique patchwork of music called jazz. Jazz used aspects of marching music, popular at the time for its decisive rhythm in an increasingly industrial society, but also incorporated elements like syncopation and improvisation-altering time and giving the music flight. Opponents saw this new musical force as a threat to racial purity and some notions of what behavior and rhythm should be like. Hersch contends that "jazz did in fact subvert racial segregation." This well-documented history contributes to the dialog on the role of race in the origins of jazz. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
—Lani Smith

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226328683
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Hersch is professor of political science at Cleveland State University and the author of Democratic Artworks: Politics and the Arts from Trilling to Dylan.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
New Orleans Maps
Opening Riff: Jelly Roll Morton’s Stars and Stripes
Introduction

1  Places
2  Reaction
3  Musicians
4  Music
5  Dissemination: Morton, La Rocca, and Armstrong

Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Discography and Videography
Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)