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Jazz Icons explores the reasons why jazz history is increasingly dependent on the legacies of 'great men'.
Learn More about the Book
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.
About the Author
Tony Whyton is Director of the Salford Music Research Centre at the University of Salford. As Professor of Jazz and Musical Cultures, he co-edits the internationally peer-reviewed Jazz Research Journal and, in 2011, edited the jazz volume of the Ashgate Library of Essays on Popular Music. He is the Project Leader for the HERA-funded Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities programme and author of the forthcoming book Beyond A Love Supreme.
1. '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
2. 'Jazz Icons is essential reading for anyone interested in better understanding their relationship with jazz icons and it will no doubt change the way many of us perceive our relationship with jazz. Highly recommended.' Ian Patterson, allaboutjazz.com
3. "However, those inside the jazz world who are willing to undertake a critical evaluation of their practices will find the volume enlightening, and those outside it who have marveled at the gushing praise reserved for various jazz figures and dates will find here one plausible explanation for that reception."
-C.Wadsworth Walker, Kansas City Kansas Community College
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