The Community that Gave Jazz to Chicago


Chicago's notoriety as the hub of the Jazz Age of the 1920s is unquestioned.  But little has been written about how African-American entrepreneurs and community leaders built the commercial infrastructure for the rise of jazz and blues clubs in the city. Although Chicago's mob rule put its stamp on the era in public consciousness, Vincent observes that it was only after black entrepreneurs laid the foundation that the mob decided it wanted "a piece of the action."

Researching the New Orleans-Chicago Jazz Connection: Tools and Methods

Black Music Research Journal

This article discusses the research methods and issues involved in investigating the musical migration from New Orleans to Chicago in the early 20th century and surveys research sources on this period of early jazz. Wang seeks to put several myths to rest, such as that of a musical exodus after the closing of Storyville, New Orleans' red light district, and of a rapid, unidirectional flow of talent between the two cities.

"King Porter Stomp" and the Jazz Tradition


Magee traces the history of one of the most oft-performed early jazz compositions. He shows that the popularity of Jelly Roll Morton's "King Porter Stomp" was not inevitable, even though it is now frequently found in lists of canonical jazz works. The composition was often overlooked and became featured almost by accident. Magee argues that the eventual adoption and fame of "King Porter Stomp" is a testament to the very real influence and statue of the song's composer, who had claimed hyperbolically to be the "inventor of jazz."

Review—Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia 1836-1970


In Playing Ad Lib, musicologist John Whiteoak explores improvisation in music that was never recorded. His evidence consists of print sources and anecdotes from throughout Australia. These include incomplete scores, published execution "methods" (e.g., for playing ragtime), snippets of advertisements, and published stories.

Jazz Music in Motion: Dancers and Big Bands


This article surveys the role of dance in black entertainment and its relation to the development of jazz in the first half of the 20th century. Malone finds that leading jazz instrumentalists gained formative experiences accompanying dancers, especially tap dancers. Musicians accordingly viewed dancers as practicing a sophisticated and influential form of jazz, and interaction between dance and music performance was seen as a vital sphere of improvisation.

Making the Scene: Contemporary New York City Big Band Jazz


"New Yorkers' imaginations operate on a large scale," claims Stewart, in their choice of orchestras as well as in other pursuits. This article describes the high level of musicianship, variety, and sheer numbers of big bands operating in the city, and surveys the venerable history of New York big bands beginning in the first decades of the 20th century.

Review—Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop

Guthrie Ramsey's Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop explores the lationship between music and African American identity. Surveying an array of black music styles, Ramsey asks how African Americans have identified themselves in music. He draws upon his experience as a jazz and gospel pianist and his family's participation in the Great Migration to generate an ethnographic method that positions family narrative at the intersection of racial identity and musical expression.


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