Jazz, a People's Music

Free ↠ Jazz, a People's Music By Sidney Walter Finkelstein – Johndore.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Jazz, a People's Music
  • Sidney Walter Finkelstein
  • English
  • 02 September 2018
  • 9780717806706

About the Author: Sidney Walter Finkelstein

Sidney Finkelstein, born in Brooklyn, New York on July 4, 1909, received his Bachelor s degree from City College in New York in 1929 and his A.M from Columbia University in 1932 before he became a renowned critic of music, literature, and the arts In 1955, he earned a second master s degree from New York University During the 1930s he served as a book reviewer for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and


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10 thoughts on “Jazz, a People's Music

  1. Jeff Crompton says:

    My favorite jazz critic, Max Harrison, wrote an essay praising this book, which introduced him to jazz When I read Harrison s piece, I started looking for a copy of Finkelstein s book, and found a first edition years ago Jazz A People s Music is not the first book written about jazz, but it s the first really excellent one When the music was only 50 years or so old, Finkelstein showed a depth of understanding that has eluded many jazz writers in the years since In an era marked by partisan bickering New Orleans purism vs big band swing vs bebop , he saw that the various styles of jazz have in common than most fans could see at the time He grasped the importance of the blues to the jazz language, and pointed out the multi voiced melodic nature of much jazz a characteristic that is even found in solos Many of Sidney Bechet s or Louis Armstrong s improvisations consist of phrases playing off each other in an oppositional manner they are, in effect, duets played by one musician.Finkelstein s view of jazz is not without its flaws These show up mostly in the last chapter, The Future of Jazz In it, Finkelstein outlines his view that the inevitable next step in the development of the music will be compositional, not improvisational Well, to be sure, there was some amazing music created by jazz composers in the 1950s George Russell, Gil Evans, Teddy Charles, Jimmy Giuffre, etc But ask any reasonably informed jazz fan to discuss the decade after this book was written, and he she will probably mention Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Clifford Brown before any of the musicians I just mentioned Monk, of course, was a special case But one of the few mentions of Monk in this book shows a profound misunderstanding of that genius s music Monk sees always the strange chord, often at the price of an unorganized piece of music To be fair, Monk had recorded very little by the time Finkelstein was writing his book Since this book is so little known, I ll end this review with some quotes Jazz is often a music of great basic simplicity, and gripping rhythmic force It is also, at the same time, a music of great subtlety. At each period of its development, it produced a very great music And each of these musical developments was created by the jazz musician, predominately Negro, when it answered to his needs It was dropped by him when he felt new needs, and met new problems that called for a different music Anguished outcries rose from those who had painfully learned to like the abandoned music and were expressed in the most elaborate theoretical formulations It is true that with each step forward values were lost as well as gained But the process of change, development, exploration of new materials and new emotions, is basic to jazz as it is to all living music. Creative jazz has style It applies the test of economy to every note and instrumental sound It doesn t use a dozen notes where three will do it doesn t use a dozen instruments when one will adequately handle the melodic line it doesn t use chords where the melodic feeling fails to call for them Any element, to be included, must have a meaning, something to say, that would be lost if omitted And it creates so complete a unity between melodic line, rhythmic beat, accent and instrumental sound that we do not hear those elements separately. Bix Beiderbecke made many records but is not well represented on them We get an idea of his powers by piecing sections of them together, and imagining the music multiplied. Charlie Parker is almost wholly a blues performer, as moving in his own way as Johnny Doods in the old music Billie s Bounce is perhaps the most extraordinary of his blues solos, with Cool Blues, Relaxing at Camarillo and Buzzy very fine His use of the blues break in Billie s Bounce and the Red Norvo Congo Blues is a revelation. And Finkelstein s conclusion Jazz holds within itself a precious emotional realism It is one of America s most precious cultural possessions, and its continued life is bound up with our life as a free people.

  2. Gary Bono says:

    Excellent overview of the subject Still applicable after all these years.

  3. Guy says:

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