Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris

Duke University Press
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Between the world wars, Paris welcomed not only a number of glamorous American expatriates, including Josephine Baker and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also a dynamic musical style emerging in the United States: jazz. Roaring through cabarets, music halls, and dance clubs, the upbeat, syncopated rhythms of jazz soon added to the allure of Paris as a center of international nightlife and cutting-edge modern culture. In Making Jazz French, Jeffrey H. Jackson examines not only how and why jazz became so widely performed in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s but also why it was so controversial.

Drawing on memoirs, press accounts, and cultural criticism, Jackson uses the history of jazz in Paris to illuminate the challenges confounding French national identity during the interwar years. As he explains, many French people initially regarded jazz as alien because of its associations with America and Africa. Some reveled in its explosive energy and the exoticism of its racial connotations, while others saw it as a dangerous reversal of France’s most cherished notions of "civilization." At the same time, many French musicians, though not threatened by jazz as a musical style, feared their jobs would vanish with the arrival of American performers. By the 1930s, however, a core group of French fans, critics, and musicians had incorporated jazz into the French entertainment tradition. Today it is an integral part of Parisian musical performance. In showing how jazz became French, Jackson reveals some of the ways a musical form created in the United States became an international phenomenon and acquired new meanings unique to the places where it was heard and performed.

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About the author

Jeffrey H. Jackson is Assistant Professor of History at Rhodes College.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Jul 15, 2003
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Pages
279
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ISBN
9780822385080
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Genres & Styles / Jazz
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ted Gioia's History of Jazz has been universally hailed as a classic--acclaimed by jazz critics and fans around the world. Now Gioia brings his magnificent work completely up-to-date, drawing on the latest research and revisiting virtually every aspect of the music, past and present. Gioia tells the story of jazz as it had never been told before, in a book that brilliantly portrays the legendary jazz players, the breakthrough styles, and the world in which it evolved. Here are the giants of jazz and the great moments of jazz history--Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club, cool jazz greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, and Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's advocacy of modern jazz in the 1940s, Miles Davis's 1955 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Ornette Coleman's experiments with atonality, Pat Metheny's visionary extension of jazz-rock fusion, the contemporary sounds of Wynton Marsalis, and the post-modernists of the current day. Gioia provides the reader with lively portraits of these and many other great musicians, intertwined with vibrant commentary on the music they created. He also evokes the many worlds of jazz, taking the reader to the swamp lands of the Mississippi Delta, the bawdy houses of New Orleans, the rent parties of Harlem, the speakeasies of Chicago during the Jazz Age, the after hours spots of corrupt Kansas city, the Cotton Club, the Savoy, and the other locales where the history of jazz was made. And as he traces the spread of this protean form, Gioia provides much insight into the social context in which the music was born.
This book begins with a simple question: Why haven't historians and musicologists been talking to one another?

Historians frequently look to all aspects of human activity, including music, in order to better understand the past. Musicologists inquire into the social, cultural, and historical contexts of musical works and musical practices to develop theories about the meanings of compositions and the significance of musical creation. Both disciplines examine how people represent their experiences. This collection of original essays, the first of its kind, argues that the conversation between scholars in the two fields can become richer and more mutually informing.

The volume features an eloquent personal essay by historian Lawrence W. Levine, whose work has inspired a whole generation of scholars working on African American music in American history. The first six essays address widely different aspects of musical culture and history ranging from women and popular song during the French Revolution to nineteenth-century music publishing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two additional essays by scholars outside of musicology and history represent a new kind of disciplinary bridging by using the methods of cultural studies to look at cross-dressing in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century opera and blues responses to lynching in the New South. The last four essays offer models for collaborative, multidisciplinary research with a special emphasis on popular music.

Jeffrey H. Jackson, Memphis, Tennessee, is assistant professor of history at Rhodes College. He is the author of "Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris." Stanley C. Pelkey, Portage, Michigan, is assistant professor of music at Western Michigan University. He is a member of the College Music Society, and his work has appeared in music-related periodicals.

This book begins with a simple question: Why haven't historians and musicologists been talking to one another?

Historians frequently look to all aspects of human activity, including music, in order to better understand the past. Musicologists inquire into the social, cultural, and historical contexts of musical works and musical practices to develop theories about the meanings of compositions and the significance of musical creation. Both disciplines examine how people represent their experiences. This collection of original essays, the first of its kind, argues that the conversation between scholars in the two fields can become richer and more mutually informing.

The volume features an eloquent personal essay by historian Lawrence W. Levine, whose work has inspired a whole generation of scholars working on African American music in American history. The first six essays address widely different aspects of musical culture and history ranging from women and popular song during the French Revolution to nineteenth-century music publishing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two additional essays by scholars outside of musicology and history represent a new kind of disciplinary bridging by using the methods of cultural studies to look at cross-dressing in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century opera and blues responses to lynching in the New South. The last four essays offer models for collaborative, multidisciplinary research with a special emphasis on popular music.

Jeffrey H. Jackson, Memphis, Tennessee, is assistant professor of history at Rhodes College. He is the author of "Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris." Stanley C. Pelkey, Portage, Michigan, is assistant professor of music at Western Michigan University. He is a member of the College Music Society, and his work has appeared in music-related periodicals.

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