[Dixielandjazz] history of Jazz

gary garwall at commspeed.net
Tue Feb 11 14:03:24 PST 2003

   Now that we have pretty much beaten the daylights out of washboards,
plungers and bad jokes I thought I would tell you about a reference book I
bought back in '52 and just recently began to reread.
   It is; "A history of Jazz in America" by Barry Ulanov, Viking Press,
copyright '50, '51, & '52. Also published by the Macmillan Co. of Canada. As
of the date of my copy there was no library #.
   This book consists of  382 pages that tell you more than anything you
ever wanted to know about Jazz from pre-New Orleans up to and including
modern and progressive.
   It also includes a 5 page, fine print glossary of Jazz terms for those
who don't speak or understand the language.
   Unlike Mr. Feather, Mr. Ulanov (pardon the pun) does not have an axe to
grind, but because it is a reference book it is not an easy read.
   Since it is so old you might find it in your LARGE library or maybe even
on the net but whatever it can answer many of the questions that have and
will be answered on this site.
   Recently it was stated that Django Reinhardt was the only Non American
who had a great influnce on early Jazz, not quite.
   There was one other muso who played with Django that was just as
influential, Stephen Grappelly who it is no secret that Joe Venuti emulated.
   It has been said that Charlie Christian was the first jazz guitarist to
perform the the riffs he did. Not so. In many cases he copied Django note
for note and it is no secret that he idolized Django's music.
   I am sure there are many more non American Jazz musicians who have
contributed much to Jazz, traditional or otherwise but as Ulanov pointed
out, there have been way too many, like Buddy Bolden, reached their peak and
flickered out like a candle. Jazz is not static. It is always changing.
Critics have been saying since the early '20s that jazz was dying. 'Tain't
so Buddy, 'taint so.
   I have bored you enough so all of you, have a great day.
   Gary Wallbridge
   Cottonwood, AZ

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