Jazz (College Edition) by Gary Giddins, Scott DeVeaux

By Gary Giddins, Scott DeVeaux

A shiny background of jazz in a lecture room textual content by means of remarkable authors—a top student and a revered critic.
Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux write with highbrow chew, eloquence, and the fervour of unabashed lovers. They clarify what jazz is, the place it got here from, the way it works, and who created it, all in the broader context of yank existence and tradition.

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As jazz musicians began to master it, they uncovered another quality—a cozy, seductive timbre that some moral guardians found dangerously sexy. A San Francisco newspaper editorial called it the “Siren of Satan” and demanded its banishment. By 1930, thanks to such premier players as Sidney Bechet (soprano), Coleman Hawkins (tenor), Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter (alto), and Harry Carney (baritone), the saxophone had become the soul of American music: an all-purpose instrument able to play sweet or hot while suggesting tenderness or aggression.

These include the vibraphone, organ, synthesizer, electric piano, guitar, and, in the earliest years, banjo. The most important, though, is the piano—an instrument equally at home in the middle-class parlor and in the public sphere of nightclubs and dance halls. The acoustic piano (to distinguish it from its electric counterpart) had already gone through a full century of technological changes before the first jazz musicians discovered it. It’s both a string instrument and a form of percussion: pianists use the wide range of the keyboard (over seven octaves) to imitate the sound of a full orchestra or pound on the keys like a drum.

But in the hands of composers like Thelonious Monk and the classical composer Claude Debussy, it creates a musical effect that is easy to recognize. We don’t need to follow musicians into these arcane nuances, but it helps to know that scales are an infinite resource. THE BLUES SCALE The blues scale is not merely a collection of pitches, but an avenue into an African American cultural world. All American music—jazz, blues, gospel, pop, rhythm and blues, country and western, rock and roll, hip-hop—is influenced by its sound.

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