291

Jazz Mavericks Of The Lone Star State

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Oliphant
Jazz Mavericks Of The Lone Star State
University Of Texas Press
ISBN: 978-0-292-71496-0
242 pages

In Jazz Mavericks Of The Lone Star State, Dave Oliphant writes about the many great jazz musicians who were born in Texas. Guitarists Charlie Christian and Eddie Durham, reedman Jimmy Giuffre, trumpeter Kenny Dorham and saxophonist Ornette Coleman—these are just a handful of those who have made important contributions to jazz, but who had to go elsewhere to make their name in the music. Oliphant admits he can't determine the reason why Texas has been the birthplace of so many outstanding musicians. Be that as it may, the musicians he writes about should provide interesting material, in which several careers, in different styles of jazz, are examined.

Unfortunately, Oliphant never really delivers on that promise. He begins with an overview of the musicians from Texas that reads more like a laundry list of notable associates and recordings. At times he seems to be needlessly reiterating how important Texans are to jazz, which should be obvious just from the names. At other moments he is covering standard jazz scholarship in narrow ways: a chapter on jazz and verse merely looks at the poetry and prose dealing with musicians from Texas. Other sections, such as the one that points out the link between Wisconsin jazz musicians and Texas jazz musicians, are downright puzzling: they offer no new insights, and the conclusion seems to be that such relationships between locations are arbitrary.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Jazz Mavericks is a collection of essays published elsewhere, and thus some may have made sense in the context in which they were first published. Also, there tends to be quite a bit of overlap between pieces, since Oliphant has his favorite players who he likes to champion (if you're into Kenny Dorham, for instance, you'll certainly get your fill.)

Written in prose as dry as a Texas summer, Oliphant unintentionally undercuts the point of the book. At the beginning you are forced to marvel at how many jazz musicians did come from Texas. By the end, though, you realize that many of them made their names in other cities and that those places may have really determined their fate. Perhaps interstate travel is the real hero. Oliphant definitely has a passion for the state of Texas, but most of the people he champions are established masters not because of where they came from, but where they headed.


Shop

More Articles

Read Beyond Words by John Prine Book Reviews Beyond Words by John Prine
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 22, 2017
Read Nothing but Love in God's Water by Robert Darden Book Reviews Nothing but Love in God's Water by Robert Darden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good Book Reviews The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good
by Doug Collette
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro" Book Reviews Bowie: Photographs by Steve Schapiro
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 30, 2016
Read "Why Jazz? A Concise Guide" Book Reviews Why Jazz? A Concise Guide
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth" Book Reviews Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hell's Angels and The Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day" Book Reviews Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hell's Angels and...
by Doug Collette
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!