The Jazz Cadence of American Culture

The Jazz Cadence of American Culture

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Columbia University Press

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The Jazz Cadence of American Culture

Taking to heart Ralph Ellison's remark that much in American life is "jazz-shaped," The Jazz Cadence of American Culture offers a wide range of eloquent statements about the influence of this art form. Robert G. O'Meally has gathered a comprehensive collection of important essays, speeches, and interviews on the impact of jazz on other arts, on politics, and on the rhythm of everyday life. Focusing mainly on American artistic expression from 1920 to 1970, O'Meally confronts a long era of political and artistic turbulence and change in which American art forms influenced one another in unexpected ways.

Organized thematically, these provocative pieces include an essay considering poet and novelist James Weldon Johnson as a cultural critic, an interview with Wynton Marsalis, a speech on the heroic image in jazz, and a newspaper review of a recent melding of jazz music and dance, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. From Stanley Crouch to August Wilson to Jacqui Malone, the plurality of voices gathered here reflects the variety of expression within jazz.

The book's opening section sketches the overall place of jazz in America. Alan P. Merriam and Fradley H. Garner unpack the word jazz and its register, Albert Murray considers improvisation in music and life, Amiri Baraka argues that white critics misunderstand jazz, and Stanley Crouch cogently dissects the intersections of jazz and mainstream American democratic institutions. After this, the book takes an interdisciplinary approach, exploring jazz and the visual arts, dance, sports, history, memory, and literature. Ann Douglas writes on jazz's influence on the design and construction of skyscrapers in the 1920s and '30s, Zora Neale Hurston considers the significance of African-American dance, Michael Eric Dyson looks at the jazz of Michael Jordan's basketball game, and Hazel Carby takes on the sexual politics of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith's blues.

The Jazz Cadence offers a wealth of insight and information for scholars, students, jazz aficionados, and any reader wishing to know more about this music form that has put its stamp on American culture more profoundly than any other in the twentieth century.

-An innovative approach to understanding jazz within a larger social context. -Library Journal -Both a celebration and an analysis of jazz, this massive omnibus of essays, interviews, riffs, reminiscence s, lectures and meditations examines the impact of jazz on American culture from the 1920s Harlem Renaissance to the 1960s black arts revolution. . . . Outstanding. -Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231104487
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 12/01/1998
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 7.34(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.77(d)
Lexile: 1360L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

Table of Contents

What is jazz?;
Jazz-The Word; Alan P. Merriam and Fradley H. Garner
Forward Motion: An Interview with Benny Golson; Benny Golson and Jim Merod
James A. Snead
Black Music as an Art Form; Olly Wilson
Remembering Thelonious Monk: When the Music Was Happening Then He'd Get Up and Do His Little Dance; Quincy Troupe and Ben Riley
Improvisation and the Creative Process; Albert Murray
One Nation Under a Groove; or, the United States of Jazzocracy;
What's American About America; John Kouwenhoven
Jazz and the White Critic; Amiri Baraka
Duke Ellington Music Like a Big Hot Pot of Good Gumbo; Wynton Marsalis and Robert G. O'Meally
Blues to Be Constitutional: A Long Look at the Wild Wherefores of Our Democratic Lives as Symbolized in the Making of Rhythm and Tune; Stanley Crouch
The Ellington Programme; Barry Ulanov
Jazz Lines and Colors: The Sound I Saw;
Art History and Black Memory: Toward a Blues Aesthetic; Richard J. Powell
Skyscrapers, Airplanes, and Airmindedness: The Necessary Angel; Ann Douglas
Calvin Tomkins
Celebration; Sherry Turner DeCarava
Black Visual Intonation; Arthur Jafa
Improvisation in Jazz; Bill Evans
Jazz is a Dance: Jazz art in Motion;
Jazz Music in Motion: Dancers and Big Bands; Jacqui Malone
Characteristics of Negro Expression; Zora Neale Hurston
African Art and Motion; Robert Farris Thompson
Be Like Mike? Michael Jordan and the Pedagogy of Desire; Michael Eric Dyson
Noise Taps a Historic Route to Joy; Margo Jefferson
Tell the Story: Jazz, History, Memory;
Pulp and Circumstance: The Story of Jazz in High Places; Gerald Early
Jazz and American Culture; Lawrence W. Levine
The Golden Age, Time Past; Ralph Ellison
Double V, Double-Time: Bebop's Politics of Style; Eric Lott
It Jus Be's Dat Way Sometime: The Sexual Politics of Women's Blues; Hazel V. Carby
Other: From Noun to Verb; Nathaniel Mackey
Writing the Blues, Writing Jazz;
The Blues as Folk Poetry; Sterling A. Brown
Richard Wright's Blues; Ralph Ellison
Preface to Three Plays; August Wilson
The Function of the Heroic Image ; Albert Murray
The Seemingly Eclipsed Window of Form: James Weldon Johnson's Prefaces; Brent Edwards
Sound and Sentiment, Sound and Symbol; Nathaniel Mackey

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