PERFORMING ARTS

Jazz: Race and Social Change (1870–2019)

Oxford Univ. May 2020. 496p. ISBN 9780190846121. pap. $79.95. REF
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Divided into stylistic eras, this book follows jazz chronologically, placing it in the context of the social, economic, and racial influences of each period. Unlike other compediums on jazz that focus on biographies of people or theoretical changes, this volume cites major political and economic upheavals and technological innovations such as the impact of radio, electronic devices, and the internet as examples of how advances in our society influence this art form. Szatmary (LJ reviewer; Rockin’ in Time: A Social History of Rock and Roll) opens each chapter with a description of its aims, making the book ideal for beginning researchers. Following this chapter outline is a brief but relevant story, along with a listening guide for a single work. The author details the context of the piece’s compositional and recording history with fascinating tidbits, and breaks down the track by time markers with descriptions of how to listen. The concluding discussion and further study questions are an opportunity to engage in reflection and also recall information from the chapter individually and as a class. There is a single bibliography at the work’s end rather than individual bibliographies at the conclusion of each chapter, which would have benefitted readers greatly considering all citations are in-text and not as footnotes.
VERDICT Great for readers who have a basic knowledge of American history and seek to deepen that knowledge through the incorporation of jazz history.

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