Noted jazz scholar, biographer, and critic Stuart Nicholson has written an entertaining and enlightening consideration of the music's global past, present, and future. Jazz's emergence on the world scene coincided with America's rise as a major global power. The uniqueness of jazz's origins-America's singularly original gift of art to the world, developed by African Americans-adds a level of complexity to any appreciation of jazz's global presence. In this volume, Nicholson covers such diverse and controversial topics as jazz in the iPod musical economy, issues of globalization and authenticity, jazz and American exceptionalism, jazz as colonial tip of the sword, global interpretation, and the limits of jazz as a genre. Nicholson caps the volume with fascinating and anecdote-rich discussions of jazz as a form of "modernism" in the twentieth century, the history of jazz fads (such as the cakewalk) that elicited very different reactions among American and European audiences, and a hearty defense of Paul Whiteman and his efforts to legitimize jazz as art.
Stuart Nicholson has written a thought-provoking and opinionated work that should equally engage and enrage all manner of jazz lovers, scholars, and aficionados.
Publisher: University Press of New England
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 612 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 25 mm
"Where most books on jazz focus solely on the music or musicians, this volume explores the form as an influential commodity of culture. British jazz historian and biographer (Ella Fitzgerald; Jazz-Rock) Nicholson presents a very well-constructed study of the way in which this distinctly American art form not only spread throughout the world, but did so in such a way that it was inextricably linked with America and its changing status in the global landscape. From how jazz was adopted and integrated as it entered other countries to the many expansions of the form in the modernist period to the place jazz now holds in a world of single-song downloads, Nicholson treats his subject with a healthy balance of reverence and objective analysis. He also covers a wide array of artists and styles in his examples, painting a very full portrait of an evolving craft."--Library Journal
"The writing is lively and [Nicholson] is great at summarising and making accessible cultural theory -- definitely worth a look at." --Jazz Guitar
"Noted British jazz writer Nicholson first takes on the state of jazz around the world today, surveying a broad spectrum of international music while taking exception, as it were, to American exceptionalism. Along the way, he poses some interesting questions about how music is not only performed differently in different cultures but may in fact be heard or understood differently. He enlists some cogent psychological theorizing about our comprehension of music." --Booklist