JAZZ: A HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK SCENE by

JAZZ: A HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK SCENE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The prime mover, in this case - the authors' contention that the New York jazz scene has been treated like an underrated side-man by historians of the hip, while New Orleans and Chicago have been featured beyond their due. Starting with Tony Pastor's and Weber and Fields', proceeding right up to the present, there's the usual proliferation of names, names, names: some to be expected (Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman, Beiderbecke, Scott Joplin, Mamie Smith, Duke Ellington), some a rather pleasant surprise (Jimmy Durante, Ted Lewis, Sophie Tucker). Irene and Vernon Castle get their long overdo credit. The 20's, after all was a dance era and it was the Castles who showed the folks how it was done. There's a generous supply of early jazz journalese, unequaled in flatulence to this day and entertaining enough to stand by itself: e.g., on the first playing of Rhapsody in Blue: ""It starts with an outrageous cadenza of the clarinet."" Charters and Kunstadt ignored what should have been the makings of at least a chapter: New York cabaret laws, the absurdity of which made Billie Holiday and others a stranger to our town for a good part of the '50's. A companion record should boost sales.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday