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umum_cypher

After Django: Making Jazz in Postwar France

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This is out soon. Brownie provided the lovely cover photo (and much else besides), and I had generous input from several other board members. Thanks everyone!

Library prices at the moment unfortunately, but a semi-affordable paperback is on the way too.

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Very interesting!

I seem to remember having read a preannouncement of this (on Amazon?) when I recently ordered the Fremeaux box set of the Ferret brothers' recordings.

May I rattle off a few questions hoping to get an answer "straight from the horse's mouth"?

1) What will the "post-war" focus be, i.e. how far does "post-war" go and is there a period that where there is a particular focus on? Or is the coverage spread evenly? (I for one, for example, find that French jazz (particularly modern jazz) up to, say, 1960, is often given short shrift in publications once you go beyond the typical St. German des Prés and existentialism settings).

2) I've read the reviews that were linked and am wondering ... from the perspective of a reader interested in the music and its finer details but also the setting that the music flourished in (but still concentrating on the music), what is the balance between the music and societal, sociological, political and other aspects, i.e. where is the "scholarly" focus?

Example: I found "New Orleans sur Seine" by Ludovic Tournès very interesting but honestly, that in-depth coverage of the HCF, the schism between Panassié and Delaunay, the structure of radio covering jazz, tour promoters and whatnot really crowded out the MUSIC and the MUSICIANS to a very large extent, concentrating a bit too heavily on the organisational framework that jazz was presented to the public in. Interesting but far from the whole (or a balanced) picture and the subtitle of the book certainly is misleading.

Not that I would mind a scholarly approach and reflections on society (though I have found a few "scholarly" US books on jazz and the swing era a bit tedious to read), it just is a matter of getting an idea of what to expect. "Jazz et société sous l'Occupation" by Gérard Regnier, for example, really was a fascinating read from start to end, though the author certainly did NOT concentrate on only rattling off all the musicians that there were (more in-depth coverage of the many artists from that era would be welcome anyway) but really managed to make that era come to life for us latter generations. And "Charles Delaunay et le jazz en France dans les années 30 et 40" by Anne Legrand is the perfect complementary book IMO, BTW.

Hope you get the gist of what I am trying to find out ...

- Finally, the paperback will be identical in contents, right? Not abridged or so?

Thanks beforehand for any input you may want to share.

Good luck and I will keep an eye on this!

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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"1) What will the "post-war" focus be, i.e. how far does "post-war" go and is there a period that where there is a particular focus on? Or is the coverage spread evenly? (I for one, for example, find that French jazz (particularly modern jazz) up to, say, 1960, is often given short shrift in publications once you go beyond the typical St. German des Prés and existentialism settings)."

- Begins in earnest around 1945, ends in earnest around 1980, though there's a fade in and out that of around 7-10 years at either end.

"2) I've read the reviews that were linked and am wondering ... from the perspective of a reader interested in the music and its finer details but also the setting that the music flourished in (but still concentrating on the music), what is the balance between the music and societal, sociological, political and other aspects, i.e. where is the "scholarly" focus?"

- Hmmm ... I've tried to mix all those things together. There's more of what you might call music criticism than you would normally find in this kind of book - lots of describing what music's being made, how, why, and what it sounds like.

"Example: I found "New Orleans sur Seine" by Ludovic Tournès very interesting but honestly, that in-depth coverage of the HCF, the schism between Panassié and Delaunay, the structure of radio covering jazz, tour promoters and whatnot really crowded out the MUSIC and the MUSICIANS to a very large extent, concentrating a bit too heavily on the organisational framework that jazz was presented to the public in. Interesting but far from the whole (or a balanced) picture and the subtitle of the book certainly is misleading."

- NOSS is great, but yes, not very music-centred. Mine has got all that stuff in it as well (and is indebted to Tournès), but it's by a music historian rather than a historian historian. There are denser sections that linger on various critical issues, though.

"Finally, the paperback will be identical in contents, right? Not abridged or so?"

Yes, identical.

Thanks for the interest!

T

Edited by umum_cypher

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Thanks for your comments and explanations!

Do I get you right, that fade-in and fade-out refers to 7 to 10 years BEFORE and AFTER the 1945-80 period, and not that only the 1953-55 to 1970-73 period will be covered in real depth? IMHO as a reader you cannot grasp the early period of post-1945 development of French jazz if you aren't aware (or being made aware) of what happened there during the occupation and immediately before that.

So I will be looking forward to this book being one that (more or less) picks up in the depth of its coverage where the books by Régnier and Legrand left off.

As for "NOSS", obviously I would not expect an English-language book aimed at the corresponding target audience (even with a highly specialized subject like this) to be generally aware of the contents of Tournès' book (ah, those non-English languages, that uncharted territory ... :lol: ) but I certainly will above all be looking forward to your book filling all those gaps that his book left open. While I, for example, find the (period) critics' stance on jazz often almost as interesting as jazz as played and recorded by the musicians, OTOH all that rambling on in Tournès' book about the structure of French radio, for example, and why and where and how jazz could get a foot into the door or not (or other - pardon - trivia) really is disproportionate when you want to paint the overall picture. So .. no, those "denser sections that linger on critical issues" sound interesting (BTW, without elaborating too much myself, despite all his skewed persepctive and "moldy fig" one-sidedness, Panassié DID rightfully point a finger every now and then at a few blind spots that other critics and media had when it came to evaluate jazz across the ENTIRE spectrum beyond the intellectual aspirations of jazz during those years.

So .... realistically asking as a customer .... when do you expect the paperback version to be out? ;)

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Well, the fade in begins with James Reese Europe, but a bit more than half of the first long chapter (which is on Panassié, the HCF, Bechet, the NO revival) is pre-WWII stuff. Agreed, without knowing in detail (even if not turtuous detail) about the music and criticism of the 30s, even some things happening in the late-60s wouldn't by fully comprehensible. The book really ends with Jack Lang's regime as culture minister, but the coda at the end extends the range up to c. 1990.

Agreed re Panassié: seems to me he was right more often than is often said. Problem is that when he was right it was often for the wrong reasons ...

No date for the paperback, but I imagine about 1 year I'm afraid.

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Sweet!

I'd like to review this for the NYC Jazz Record. I'm sure we can put it in sometime in early 2014.

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Congratulations! Glad to see the cover. Hope I will be able to identify the uncredited sax player in that Bobino concert photo soon!

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Thanks, Ghost!

Saw in the header of the review that a PB version is listed and as it also is on Amazon now I ordered it right away. Looking forward to it! :tup

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In the course of the piece, author Adam Shatz takes an IMO ridiculous swipe at George Russell, saying that Andre Hodier's compositions were "even more ersatz and mannered" than those of 'American 'Third Stream' of [sic] composers, such as Gunther Schuller and George Russell." Methinks Mr. Shatz needs an ear transplant.

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I like Hodeir's music, a lot. Geez, putting down Schuller and Russell too? Dumb, dumb.

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Am now into reading this book. VERY interesting and I am devouring it for the subject matter's sake, but ... whew ... heavy stuff and rough going ... this IS scholarly indeed, and there is a lot in there where the musical contents (and the alleged focus on same) really (and unfortunately IMO) get crowded out by an onslaught of academic (or should I say "high-brow"?) prose. And I don't quite buy into the all-out emphasis on religious aspects evoked as the overwhelming motivations throughout when it comes to Panassié's stance on what he considered "real" jazz either.

(No definite judgment here yet, just a case of fairly advanced bewilderment ... ;) )

More probably in due course ... ;)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I'm still hoping NYCJR will let me publish a review... it is a fabulous book. I learned a ton and it also made me think/engage in dialogue with the author - a good thing indeed.

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I've started reading a few months back but got sidetracked - back at it now and indeed there's lots to learn and much to think about! :tup

As for the scholarly writing - it did come as a bit of a shock indeed, but then I'm quite used to reading scholarly texts (though not on jazz) and Tom's writing is very clear and to the point, after all.

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