Sunday, July 14, 2013

What’s New At Bexley Public Library: Why Jazz Happened by Marc Myers.

Author Marc Myers writes about jazz, rock, soul and rhythm & blues.  His writing appears frequently in the Wall Street Journal. 

Myers' most recent book Why Jazz Happened is a business history of an American art form.  It is a story of musicians, music agents, copyright agencies, a labor union, the federal government, broadcast engineers and manufacturers of record players and juke boxes,  the GI Bill, colleges and music schools.

Myers’ history covers ten forms of jazz:  Bebop, jazz-classical, cool, West Coast jazz, hard bop, jazz-gospel, spiritual jazz, jazz-pop, avant-garde jazz and jazz-rock fusion.  He explains why these forms of music developed and identifies the musicians who are identified with these ten forms of jazz. 

In addition to the ten listed jazz forms, Myers also mentions some other forms briefly.  These other forms are identified as free-jazz, concert jazz and chamber jazz.

The history that Myers writes includes The American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Labor, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.  Musicians.

Particular American cities that were important locales for the music are Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

Schools in those cities, such as Julliard, Manhattan School of Music, Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Arts and Westlake School of Music were influential in training the musicians who played the new music. 

There was an important interplay between the classical music training received at these school and the development of the sound of jazz.

Myers book is a well-written description of the business of jazz during its formative years and the time-period of its growth as an American form of music.

For a summer read, this is an easy recommendation.  It is a history that fills in a lot of gaps in  our understanding of where jazz came from and how it grew and sustained itself.

July 14, 2013. 
Reviewed at Bexley, Ohio.
Copyright 2013 by Bexley Public Radio Foundation.  All rights Reserved
The WCRX-LP Editorial Collective.

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