The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s

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F. Scott Fitzgerald named it, Louis Armstrong launched it, Paul Whiteman and Fletcher Henderson orchestrated it, and now Arnold Shaw chronicles this fabulous era in his marvelously engrossing book, appropriately called The Jazz Age. Enriching his account with lively anecdotes and inside stories, he describes the astonishing outpouring of significant musical innovations that emerged during the "Roaring Twenties"—including blues, jazz, band music, torch ballads, operettas, and musicals—and sets them against the background of the Prohibition world of the Flapper and the Gangster.
The Jazz Age offers an insider's view into the significant developments and personalities of the jazz age, including the maturation and Americanization of the Broadway musical theater, the explosion of the arts celebrated in the Harlem Renaissance, the rise of the Classic Blues Singers, and the evolution of ragtime into stride piano. It also contains a bibliography, detailed discography, and listings of the songs of the twenties in Variety's "Golden 100" and of films featuring singers and songwriters of the era.

Spicing his account with lively anecdotes and inside stories, he describes the astonishing outpouring of significant musical innovations that emerged during the "Roaring Twenties".

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I am deeply moved by Arnold Shaw's The Jazz Age."—Quincy Jones, Grammy Award winner

"A unique portrayal of the 1920s."—Library Journal

"As one who grew up in the 1920s, and has been reading Arnold Shaw with admiration for some twenty-odd years, I read The Jazz Age not only nostalgically, but also with gratitude to one who tells us so much, and so knowledgeably, about what lay behind the music that I and many others of our generation simply took—at the time—for granted."—Henry Pleasants

"Vastly detailed, all-inclusive."—Kirkus Reviews

"[Shaw opens] a Pandora's box of musical memories, dispelling present ambiguities and inviting the reader to a nostalgic backward journey when life seemed less complex and more carefree."—America

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195060829
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/1989
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Arnold Shaw, winner of three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, and author of such books as Honkers and Shouters, The Dictionary of Pop/Rock, Black Popular Music in America, and Fifty-Second Street, and biographies of Sinatra and Belafonte, is Director of the Popular Music Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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Table of Contents

I The Jazz Age
1 "Flappers Are We" 3
2 King Oliver, Jelly Roll, and Satchmo 14
3 Bix, Austin High, and Chicago Style 31
4 Pops and Smack 41
II The Harlem Renaissance
5 Duke, Ethel, and the Harlem Scene 57
6 "The Birth of the Blues" 67
7 "Kitten on the Keys" 80
8 Shuffle Along 88
III Tin Pan Alley
9 "Dardanella" 95
10 "The Sheik of Araby" 111
11 "Three O'Clock in the Morning" 120
12 "Yes! We Have No Bananas"/"Charleston" 132
13 "Rhapsody and Romance in Blue" 142
14 "Tea for Two" 157
15 "The Black Bottom" 170
16 "Talkies" and Theme Songs 184
17 "The Singing Fool" 200
18 California Gold Rush 213
IV The Musical Theatre
19 The Musical Revue 231
20 The Golden Coterie 250
21 The Operetta Revival 271
22 Song Laureate of the Roaring Twenties 275
Epilogue 285
Notes 289
Bibliography 303
Discography 311
Variety's "Golden 100 Tin Pan Alley Songs" 319
Index 321
Song Index 339
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