Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Origin of Jazz and Its Effets Throughout History

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Written by the critically acclaimed author, James Lincoln Collier, the non-fiction novel, The Making of Jazz, was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. It is in its first edition, published in Boston in 178. The number of pages the book has is 48, however, including the discography, bibliography and index, it is 54 pages long.

Because of James Lincoln Collier’s high infatuation with jazz, he wrote many books about the significant musical style. He wanted to dive into jazz’s in-depth history, from its cultural origin to its evolution into modern music today. Today, people can suspect that writing a book’s purpose was because of the author’s own passion; a sort of determination that can only be satisfied by the expression of words that describe epic feelings and mammoth impulses. Collier wanted to write the book to let people know that jazz is not just a type of music, but also an art. In addition, Collier pays a great deal of homage to great jazz legends and famous musicians in the “roaring 10s”. Here, it can be argued if Collier is writing a book about jazz’s history, or paying a tribute to those that have made jazz historical.

As a professional Jazz artist himself, he was the founder of the Hudson Valley Brass Ensemble and has written and arranged music of various musical groups. Among his books on music are Practical Music Theory, widely used in American schools, The Hypocritical American, Somebody Up There Hates Me, and several children’s books, including Inside Jazz, and Great Jazz Artists, Which Musical Instrument Shall I Play?, The Teddy Bear Habit, Rich and Famous, and Give Dad My Best. He has written extensively on music for many periodicals, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Playboy, and Reader’s Digest. His children’s books have won a number of major awards, including the prestigious Newberry Honors Medal. Moreover, he has collaborates with his brother, author Christopher Collier, and has written such books as My Brother Sam Is Dead and The Bloody Country.

In The Making of Jazz, James Lincoln Collier gives readers a comprehensive re-evaluation of jazz history, based on an in-depth study of the central body of recorded jazz in the light on his own musical experience. He begins on Chapter I The African Roots. Here he states the argument that tribal music of various African provinces and cultures were the inspiration and flare of jazz that some at the era could not fathom. In the latter part of the book, he discusses the creation by black slaves of the precursor music out of which jazz grew and then covers at length the major style in the development of jazz. Such styles of jazz are ragtime, the blues, the New Orleans style, swing, bebop, hard bop, the cool school, and the free jazz. Collier also gives a detailed look at modern jazz today, influenced by jazz of its history. The book also includes detailed discussions of the lives and work of over a hundred major musicians and shorter descriptions of the styles of dozens more. Collier also gives chapter-length analyses of such major legends of jazz as Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday, in which the author shows, with fascination insight, how their particular personalities formed their music and helped to shape and mold the prodigious history of jazz.

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James Lincoln Collier supports his thesis with details from his own experiences. As a man who plays jazz professionally for years and years, one would think that Collier’s opinions matter, because he has gone through what a jazz musician has. Collier makes his references from other books as he describes jazz from different perspectives and insights. Collier states the fact that the music that is jazz was derived from African Tribal music, and was not adapted from any other culture. The African slaves brought their culture with them, thus carrying the beats of Africa with them as well. They used the beats here in America, until it was adapted from American blacks, creating a new generation and style of music that would change the perspective of music forever. Collier then adds the effects of jazz music to White performers and collaborations with both White and Black musicians. Although there are many astounding White jazz performers, Collier leaves little space for few, making the point that Black musicians were the initiators for jazz music.

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