Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition

Jazz Icons: Heroes, Myths and the Jazz Tradition

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Tony Whyton
Cambridge University Press, 2010-04-01
EAN 9780521896450, ISBN10: 0521896452

Hardcover, 230 pages, 24.9 x 17.6 x 2 cm

Today, jazz history is dominated by iconic figures who have taken on an almost God-like status. From Satchmo to Duke, Bird to Trane, these legendary jazzmen form the backbone of the jazz tradition. Jazz icons not only provide musicians and audiences with figureheads to revere but have also come to stand for a number of values and beliefs that shape our view of the music itself. Jazz Icons explores the growing significance of icons in jazz and discusses the reasons why the music's history is increasingly dependent on the legacies of 'great men'. Using a series of individual case studies, Whyton examines the influence of jazz icons through different forms of historical mediation, including the recording, language, image and myth. The book encourages readers to take a fresh look at their relationship with iconic figures of the past and challenges many of the dominant narratives in jazz today.

'If the cultural construction of the music - including the education of young musicians - is to move beyond the individualist mythology into a more pragmatic sense of collective achievement, then we will indeed need, as Whyton says, a far more critical engagement with the existing icons of jazz.' Andrew Blake, Times Higher Education