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kh1958

Swing Street: The Rise and Fall of New York's 52nd Street Jazz Scene: An Illustrated Tribute, 1930–1950

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This new book about the clubs on 52nd Street just came out.

Swing Street: The Rise and Fall of New York's 52nd Street Jazz Scene: An Illustrated Tribute, 1930–1950Hardcover – Illustrated, June 28, 2020

by Leo T. Sullivan (Author)
 
 
 
 
 

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Very tempting ... including as a follow-up to the book by Arnold Shaw.
But what I found a bit irritating when I looked at the sample pages on Amazon (Amazon.de has it listed but not yet available for shipping) is the photographs. Assuming that the sample pages are typical for the book, could it be that the editors ALSO helped themselves to the photo archives of William Gottlieb from 1947 - as have others done for their books in recent years too? The Gottlieb photographs are fantastic but as they are freely accessible online as P.D. items the "new" factor tends to wear off. Besides, visually describing an entire era for the most part (so it seems ...) through one man's photographs that largely come from one year (and therefore cover the activity in a fairly narrow span of time) does not entirely do the subject justice, isn't it? Aren't there any other substantial photo files on 52nd Street in existence? (To name just one exmaple, I'd guess there must be more in the Charles Peterson files than has been seen in "Swing Era New York")

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I ordered a copy. Hopefully the content will be of interest beyond the photos. 

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On 7/5/2020 at 3:05 AM, Big Beat Steve said:

Very tempting ... including as a follow-up to the book by Arnold Shaw.
But what I found a bit irritating when I looked at the sample pages on Amazon (Amazon.de has it listed but not yet available for shipping) is the photographs. Assuming that the sample pages are typical for the book, could it be that the editors ALSO helped themselves to the photo archives of William Gottlieb from 1947 - as have others done for their books in recent years too? The Gottlieb photographs are fantastic but as they are freely accessible online as P.D. items the "new" factor tends to wear off. Besides, visually describing an entire era for the most part (so it seems ...) through one man's photographs that largely come from one year (and therefore cover the activity in a fairly narrow span of time) does not entirely do the subject justice, isn't it? Aren't there any other substantial photo files on 52nd Street in existence? (To name just one exmaple, I'd guess there must be more in the Charles Peterson files than has been seen in "Swing Era New York")

You were correct; there are only William Gottlieb photos in this book. They are nicely reproduced and plentiful; also, photos of ephemera relating to the Steet and specific clubs. There's a short chapter on each club, with photos taken there. The text is pretty slight; no in-depth, new research. A nice book to flip through and browse while listening to music, but nothing more.

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What a pity. I was half-expecting the text would not break any major new ground beyond what Arnold Shaw wrote decades ago (or what you were able to glean from Swing Era New York). But if the book pretends to cover the 1930-1950 period, how can you visually show that in a fairly comprehensive manner in a book that pretends to be an ILLUSTRATED tribute by using only photos taken around 1947? That caught just a small segment of what happened on The Street.
(P.D. seems to be too tempting not to make use of it ...)

Anyway, many thanks your feedback - you got me in a quandary now because - against all reason ;) - I still see myself  tempted anyway (for completeness sake).

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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