Myers explains the rise of hard-bop, the effect of the civil rights movement on jazz, and the embracing of a greater spiritualism in the music in lucid manner. Another chapter relates the enormous impact of the Beatles, when once again jazz's audience shrunk as record labels, radio stations and clubs rushed to jump on the Brit-pop bandwagon. The rise of the avant-garde is explained as a reaction to conformity and dissatisfaction with the status quo, socially and musically. Jazz-rock and jazz-fusion were, Myers says, jazz's response to electrification, mass amplification and the explosion in rock bands, huge record sales and vibrant audiences.
In the final chapter, the author summarizes trends in jazz since the 1970s, and concludes a highly engaging, thoroughly researched book thus: "Jazz's challenge going forward will be to attract new musicians who are able to find new ways of expressing the music that not only pay tribute to jazz's past but also interpret contemporary life in a way that resonates with new listeners." Recommended.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.