The Jazz Of The Southwest

Overview

They may wear cowboy hats and boots and sing about "faded love," but western swing musicians have always played jazz! From Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys to Asleep at the Wheel, western swing performers have played swing jazz on traditional country instruments, with all of the required elements of jazz, and some of the best solo improvisation ever heard.

In this book, Jean A. Boyd explores the origins and development of western swing as a vibrant current in the mainstream of ...

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Overview

They may wear cowboy hats and boots and sing about "faded love," but western swing musicians have always played jazz! From Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys to Asleep at the Wheel, western swing performers have played swing jazz on traditional country instruments, with all of the required elements of jazz, and some of the best solo improvisation ever heard.

In this book, Jean A. Boyd explores the origins and development of western swing as a vibrant current in the mainstream of jazz. She focuses in particular on the performers who made the music, drawing on personal interviews with some fifty living western swing musicians. From pioneers such as Cliff Bruner and Eldon Shamblin to current performers such as Johnny Gimble, the musicians make important connections between the big band swing jazz they heard on the radio and the western swing they created and played across the Southwest from Texas to California.

From this first-hand testimony, Boyd re-creates the world of western swing-the dance halls, recording studios, and live radio shows that broadcast the music to an enthusiastic listening audience. Although the performers typically came from the same rural roots that nurtured country music, their words make it clear that they considered themselves neither "hillbillies" nor "country pickers," but jazz musicians whose performance approach and repertory were no different from those of mainstream jazz. This important aspect of the western swing story has never been told before.

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Editorial Reviews

Western Historical Quarterly
Although Boyd states that 'this book is only a beginning', Jazz of the Southwest is, in fact, a rich source of information on both the music and the men who made the music. It is a thoughtful and readable celebration of western swing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292708600
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 986,051
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean A. Boyd is Professor of Musicology at the Baylor University School of Music in Waco, Texas.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Note to the Reader
Introduction: Western Swing and the Texas Mystique 1
1 Western Swing: Description and Development 6
2 Western Swing Fiddlers 33
3 Western Swing Guitarists 79
4 The Steel Guitar in Western Swing 113
5 The Western Swing Rhythm Section: Banjo and Bass 143
6 The Western Swing Rhythm Section: Piano and Drums 185
7 The Rest of the Western Swing Band: Horn Players and Vocalists 226
Conclusion 244
Notes 247
Works Cited 253
Index 257
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