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Global Jazz: A Research And Information Guide


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Global Jazz: A Research And Information Guide
Clarence Bernard Henry
394 Pages
ISBN: 9780367724849

Jazz musicians often talk about jazz as a global language. For sure, this African American art form wasted no time in travelling beyond US borders, its world- wide dissemination accelerated by numerous factors. These included the advent of radio, the mass production of vinyl, and the vast global movements of American soldiers in two world wars.

And like every other type of language, jazz has evolved and modernized along the way. This annotated bibliography/guide examines the global effects of jazz, how it has played out in diverse cultures around the planet, the ways in which it has been embraced, reshaped and transformed, against the backdrop of history.

With almost 1,400 annotated entries, Global Jazz is a hefty compilation that neatly summarizes the main thrust of significant jazz research publications—books, ethnographic case studies, articles, essays, dissertations, symposium papers and discographies. Six chapters cover distinct geographic areas: North America, United States and Canada; South America, Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

In total, one hundred and twenty-four countries, islands and island chains, autonomous provinces and politically/culturally defined regions are represented. Nowhere, it seems, has escaped jazz's tentacles, nor the intrepid researchers who attempt to make sense of the jazz as a cultural phenomenon, through local, national and transnational prisms.

Only poor old Antarctica misses out on the party, though one wonders if, and how, any budding jazz musicians among the 5,000-strong international scientific research community have responded musically to the coldest, most wind-blown and driest place on Earth. Polar desert jazz? It could be the next big thing.

To be clear, Global Jazz is a guide, one aimed primarily at researchers, academics and students. As such, entries are arranged alphabetically with the bullet-proof logic of a library filing system. Alongside titles and authors, entries include publication dates, publisher, names of academic institutions, series titles, International Standard Book Numbers, page number, and so on. Everything, in fact, that your typical jazz sleuth might need to track down and get their hands on a desired publication.

Interested in the complex workings and history of jazz collectives? Check out the collection of essays in The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music (Routledge, 2016). Researching historical links between African American music and the development of jazz in Wales? Jen Wilson's Freedom Music: Wales, Emancipation & Jazz 1850-1950 (University of Wales Press, 2019) is likely what you need. Want an overview of modern global narratives of improvisation? Then try the collected essays in Playing For Keeps: Improvisation In The Aftermath (Duke University Press, 2020). Looking for the most comprehensive history ever of jazz in Europe? The 800-page tome The History Of European Jazz: The Music, Musicians And Audience in Context (Equinox, 2018) is a good starting point.

Something more specific? Say, the kissaten, or jazz-listening cafes, in Japan? Search for Mary White's ethnographic study Coffee Life in Japan (University of California Press, 2012). Looking for a history of jazz in a former Soviet Republic? Perhaps Rain Sultanov's The Jazz History of Azerbaijan (Efendi Publishing House, 2015) will do. Jazz in Senegal? Then you could always start with Hervé Lenormand's 79-page study, Saint-Louis Jazz: Histoires de Jazz au Sénégal (Joca Seria, 1996). French, Italian, Japanese? Languages of all publications are indicated. Books with particular features—filmography, discography, accompanying CD, illustrations, maps—are also noted. What more could you ask for?

Handily, three detailed indexes—organized alphabetically by names, countries and subjects—makes tracking down any area of interest a straightforward exercise. A random perusal of the subject index reveals the extraordinary range of subjects covered; jazz and gender studies; jazz in communist, fascist and socialist States; Jewish identity and jazz; Muslim influences on jazz; exoticism and jazz; jazz and ... art, religion, spiritualism, festivals, education, identity, criticism, dance ...

For the average jazz fan, commonly used terminology like Latin-jazz, flamenco-jazz, jazz-fusion, Indo-jazz and gypsy-jazz reflects the ways in which jazz has been absorbed, modified, internationalized and commodified. But the extraordinary list of genres listed in the book's subject index, from Afrobeat and palm wine to boogaloo, from hip-hop and polka to reggae, from ronggeng and shibuya-kei to taraab, underlines the book's core message that jazz is indeed a global lingua franca, that has influenced, and equally has been influenced, by every type of music that it has ever encountered.

As far-reaching as this annotated bibliography undoubtedly is, it was clearly impossible to include every book or article ever published—a never-ending task, after all. Still, Global Jazz: A Research and Information Guide makes an excellent reference tool, and a jumping off point into a bottomless ocean of jazz-related writings.



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