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Jazz Anecdotes by Bill Crow

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in art, music studies


Bill Crow ‘s Jazz Anecdotes is a thought-provoking , often amusing collection of stories from within jazz ‘s inner circles , told by and about some of the genre ‘s leading figures . While not a history of jazz it gives readers some insights to how jazz artists worked , lived bonded , and coped with an America in which many were still outsiders

The book ‘s forty-three chapters (expanded from the original 1990 edition ) describe the life jazz musicians shared , offering insights into a rather exclusive , unconventional circle of performing artists . The [banner_entry_middle]

br numerous anecdotes are categorized by chapters , gathering related tales and moving from a general overview of jazz life to anecdotes about individuals , like Louis Armstrong , Miles Davis , and Benny Goodman Essentially , Crow creates a context in which jazz musicians lived , and then places individual musicians within it , giving readers a better understanding of how they functioned in this rarified climate . For example , the volume opens with Wild Scenes ‘ which Crow says describes how the individuality of jazz musicians combines with the capricious world in which they try to make a living (Crow 3 . The brief chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book , giving glimpses of the unconventional world jazz musicians inhabited (which explains to some degree their relationship to society at large . The Word `Jazz ‘ contains attempts to explain the origins of the genre ‘s name and Inventions ‘ offers accounts of how certain innovations occurred (such as Dizzy Gillespie ‘s distinctive bent trumpet , giving the reader a sense of history though the work is not an orthodox history per se

Many of the stories contained in Jazz Anecdotes convey the musicians camaraderie and warmth toward each other , as well as each other ‘s idiosyncrasies . Others convey how difficult and often arbitrary the jazz lifestyle often was . Hiring and Firing ‘ demonstrates how unstable many musicians ‘ careers were , rife with disputes over money or dismissals for their personal quirks (For example , Count Basie fired Lester Young for refusing to participate in recording sessions occurring on the 13th of any month ) Managers , Agents , and Bosses ‘ offers a glimpse into the seamier underside of jazz , where dishonest managers and mobsters often trapped jazz performers in unfair contracts or worse

Though jazz musicians appear to inhabit a special world , Crow does not discuss jazz in a social vacuum , tying it to social phenomena like race relations . In Prejudice ‘ the tales take a more serious tone by showing how black jazz artists faced abundant racism , particularly in the South . However , Crow notes that Jazz helped to start the erosion of racial prejudice in America . [because] it drew whites and blacks together into a common experience (Crow 148 . Jazz artists dealt with racism in various ways – Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday stood up to it while Zutty Singleton accepted it . Meanwhile , even white musicians like Stan Smith angered both races – whites for performing with blacks , and blacks for intruding on their music (Crow 152

The final chapters focus on individual artists , illustrating… [banner_entry_footer]

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