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The Jazz Cadence of American Culture
ISBN 0231104499 / 9780231104494 / 0-231-10449-9Find This Book
Columbia University professor Robert G. O'Meally--one of the most comprehensive essayists and cultural critics on the scene--has brought together diverse viewpoints on jazz's continuing influence over the culture of the United States. This superb collection takes its cue from the legendary Ralph Ellison's observation that American life is "jazz-based." As O'Meally writes, "The book is thus a teaching tool designed to open the way for a variety of new avenues in jazz studies as a growing interdisciplinary field of exploration."
Ann Douglas muses on the relationship between skyscrapers and the music of the swing era, while Alan P. Merriam and Fradley H. Garner trace the jumbled etymology of the very word jazz. Astute critic Albert Murray offers a brief but masterful and illuminating treatise, "Improvisation and the Creative Process," while James A. Snead explores the uses of riffs in "Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture." The book's scope is grand enough to include Stanley Crouch's affirmative "Blues to Be Constitutional," Amiri Baraka's scorching indictment "Jazz and the White Critic," and Michael Eric Dyson's take on basketball's jazz/dance-like Afro-American reinvention, "Be Like Mike: Michael Jordan and the Pedagogy of Desire." Interviews with saxophonist Benny Golson and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis round out an incredible work that reveals all of the multicolored hues and grooves that make the United States glow. --Eugene Holley Jr. [via]