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Criticism To The Critical: An Analysis Of The Works Of Jazz Historians

1296 words - 6 pages

When researching the history of a specific topic, the viewpoints of historians can widely differ. My findings have concluded that each critic or historian has his own way of arguing who or what made jazz a beloved genre within American pop culture. Some even contend the location of its early origins. Throughout the text, several other sources remain indifferent in summarizing jazz. Paying no regard to any of the authors’ stance, the sources mentioned within my writing have provided beneficial information that will be used within my research assignment.
Shining Trumpets author Rudi Blesh presented the reader with an interesting argument. A true enthusiast himself, Blesh provided that ...view middle of the document...

In his texts, Williams used his critical expertise to apply the sounds heard from old jazz recordings in order to explain how the music developed. His findings are in the evidence itself, with careful thought to the early patterns of rhythm and how it was later applied to other musical pieces. To clarify, the author’s approach is analyzing the creation of jazz through arrangements and how each musician made up a key ingredient rather than analyzing the social history of the genre.
Professor and composer, Leroy Ostransky, chose the locational element when studying the genre. In his self-explanatory titled book, Jazz City, Ostransky labeled the chapters with the cities that are attributed to popularizing jazz. Within each, he answered the question of what factors made the music so successful in a particular region. He looks at what the current state of the location was at the time as well as the social and environmental factors were in order to draw his conclusions. Like any seasoned historian, he also provided information on how the locations were affected once jazz became a part of the culture. While he still considered the individuals known for popularizing jazz, Ostransky pointed out to his audience that location played a major part in its fame.
One historian decided to take a more well-rounded approach. Enthusiast, Joachim Berendt, used his work, The Jazz Book: From New Orleans to Rock and Free Jazz to express how versatile jazz is and how it has changed throughout the years. His text is the first I have encountered that pays dedication to other music that has arose out of jazz such as Ragtime, Bebop, Cool Jazz, and 1970s. A point I intended to consider within my research paper was to look into the different instruments that were first used to play jazz and what instruments have been introduced since its height. With this being mentioned, I have come across different sections in which Berendt specifies the equipment that was implemented. Another example of balance is that he also designated sections in his book to jazz singers, such as Billie Holliday and Tim Buckley. His consideration of these elements provide details that other authors have missed.
Similarly, The Story of Jazz, author of the publication and founder of the Institute of Jazz, Marshall Stearns, did not consider a particular angle to argue. Rather, he devoted much of his writing to summarizing the genre. Like other writers previously stated, Stearns accredited African music with the arrival of jazz. He also gave accounts of how the music is a staple to the New Orleans culture, such as funeral processions and Mardi Gras parades. Additionally, the text included the celebrated pioneers as well as his expectations of how the genre will change over time.
In the book, Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya, Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff chose not to display disagreement about where the genre...

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