The Jazz Cadence of American Culture

The Jazz Cadence of American Culture

By: Robert O'Meally (editor)Paperback

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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.

About Author

Robert G. O'Meally is Zora Neale Hurston Professor of American Literature at Columbia University.


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

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780231104494
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 576
  • ID: 9780231104494
  • ISBN10: 0231104499

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