Jazz in American Culture offers an informed and entertaining introduction to jazz - one of the great musical cultures of the world. The book looks at jazz both as a music and as a culture within the wider American context, and aims to open up the subject to the non-specialist. It examines the social and institutional structures that have underpinned the music at particular stages in its history, from the 1930s through to the present, and considers its place as a component of the entertainment industry. Among the musicians introduced are Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday and Lester Young. Peter Townsend's distinctive approach to his subject includes a consideration of representations of jazz in other art forms, including films and literary texts, such as the fiction of Ralph Ellison, Jack Kerouac and Toni Morrison, and the poetry of Langston Hughes. He also introduces the work of jazz-influenced painters such as Stuart Davis and Jackson Pollock, and discusses the significance of photography in jazz.The book also explores the influence of jazz on other art forms, the 'mythology' of jazz, its place in consumer culture and its relation to a number of issues, such as ethnicity and individualism, that have affected American art and society.
This book will be of lasting interest to anyone with a passion for jazz music.