Jazz historiography

779 WordsJun 22, 20184 Pages
The rapid development of jazz in both the United States and Europe generated a number of diverse musical expressions, including musics that most listeners today would not recognize as “jazz” music. In order to remedy this situation, jazz musicians and critics after 1930 began to codify what “real” jazz encompassed, and more importantly, what “real” jazz did not encompass. This construction of authenticity, often demarcated along racial lines, served to relegate several artists and styles (those outside a “mainstream” to the margins of historiography. The issue of race is central to all discourses of jazz. Alongside race goes the problem of representation, or, who gets to play what for whom and under what circumstance. Problems of…show more content…
It creates a false binary in which the only races involved in the creation or playing of jazz are black and white, thus implicitly writing European, Roma, Latin American, or other ethnic groups out of the narrative, a mistake this thesis will seek to correct by including guitarists from outside the black/white binary as valid contributors to discourse. Ideas intimately tied to issues of race and social impact is the issue of authenticity. What constitutes real (authentic) jazz and who are jazz‘s authentic players? For that matter, what are authentic jazz instruments? Authenticity is usually defined by race, ethnicity, and/or musical pedigree, though there seems to be a hierarchy at work in those definitions. of authenticity, however, are not real or absolute; they are imaginary constructs made to suit the ideological needs of fans, writers, musicians, and critics. Black musicians are usually considered to be more authentic than white musicians; however, white American musicians are more authentic than their European counterparts. While jazz might be an African-American music, it is still often viewed as being uniquely American. Europeans, in turn, are more authentic than other ethnic sub-groups, like Roma, or other nationalities. These notions of authenticity were some of the most influential factors in the shaping of jazz discourse. Pedigree, whether real or assumed,
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