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Chicago Jazz


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About the Author

William Howland Kenny is a jazz clarinetist and Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Kent State University.


Social historian Kenney provides an entertaining and well-documented account of Chicago jazz in the Roaring Twenties. Although many books have addressed the subject, this is evidently the first to emphasize the music's social context. Kenney describes dance halls and cabarets, explaining the popularity of interracial dancing. He cites the autobiographies of musicians to account for why white musicians found black jazz so attractive. Analyzing recordings by King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, and Jelly Roll Morton, Kenney describes the structure of their musical arrangements. Kenney's talent for vivid description makes the era come alive. This study will benefit specialists and is recommended for academic libraries serving students of jazz and popular culture.-- Paul Baker, CUNA Inc., Madison, Wis.

In this concise and informative academic study, historian Kenney traces the social and economic emergence of jazz in Chicago from its inception through the Depression, with particular emphasis on the 1920s, when Chicago became a major jazz center. The author, who teaches American studies at Kent State University, recounts African American migration into the city, and shows how nightclubs and cabarets helped to cultivate the evolving musical form. Out of South-side Chicago came such legendary black musicians as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines. But Kenney maintains that white Chicago jazz musicians, such as Jimmy McPartland, Art Hodes and Frank Teschemacher, deserve more credit than is normally given. All Chicago jazz, he concludes, responded not only to tensions between the races, but also to the rise in prominence of the city. Photos not seen by PW. (May)

William Howland Kenney ... writes vividly and effectively ... Chicago Jazz remains the definitive account for the foreseeable future * Times Literary Supplement *
a meticulously researched and minutely detailed work of jazz scholarship that impressively enhances our understanding of how jazz developed, and the mileu in which it prospered. Aficionados will find this fascinating. * Trevor Hodgett, Irish News *
CHICAGO JAZZ is a good example of the new historical writing in the field. This is a well written and thoroughly researched book, and ought to appeal to anyone interested in the general history of jazz and popular music. * Jim Burns, Beat Scene , No. 23 *

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