Noted jazz scholar, biographer, and critic Stuart Nicholson has written an entertaining and enlightening consideration of the music’s global past, present, and future. Jazz’s emergence on the world scene coincided with America’s rise as a major global power. The uniqueness of jazz’s origins—America’s singularly original gift of art to the world, developed by African Americans—adds a level of complexity to any appreciation of jazz’s global presence. In this volume, Nicholson covers such diverse and controversial topics as jazz in the iPod musical economy, issues of globalization and authenticity, jazz and American exceptionalism, jazz as colonial tip of the sword, global interpretation, and the limits of jazz as a genre. Nicholson caps the volume with fascinating and anecdote-rich discussions of jazz as a form of “modernism” in the twentieth century, the history of jazz fads (such as the cakewalk) that elicited very different reactions among American and European audiences, and a hearty defense of Paul Whiteman and his efforts to legitimize jazz as art.
Stuart Nicholson has written a thought-provoking and opinionated work that should equally engage and enrage all manner of jazz lovers, scholars, and aficionados.
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