[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Dissertation

Brian Towers towers at allstream.net
Thu Jul 22 10:38:38 PDT 2004


Just one snag to the learned Catharine Parsonage's Ph D dissertion - the
black group that toured Britain in 1919  - "Will Marion Cook's Southern
Syncopated Orchestra" - was not a jazz band and so comparisons by academics
with the ODJB invoke the old "comparing apples with oranges" dicta!
Brian Towers

From: "James Kashishian" <kash at ran.es>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 1:00 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Jazz Dissertation

> My two youngest sons (twins) are busy writing their Master's Dissertations
> in London at the moment, one at University College, London...the other at
> London School of Economics.
> My son that is at LSE accidentally ran into a Ph.D. dissertation written
> City University, London, by someone called Catherine Parsonage while
> researching his own paper.  This dissertation is on Jazz History (which
> makes me wonder what my son was doing straying so far from his given
> subject...relaxing a bit, I suppose!!).
> It is quite long, but I have it in an attachment, if anyone is interested.
> Jim
> Here's the abstract:
> A critical reassessment of the
> reception of early jazz in Britain
> Abstract
> The Original Dixieland Jazz Band's visit in 1919-1920 has been well
> documented as the beginning of jazz in Britain. This article illuminates a
> more complex evolution of the image and presence of jazz in Britain
> consideration of the cultural and musical antecedents of the genre,
> including minstrel shows and black musical theatre, within the context of
> musical life in Britain in the late nineteenth to early twentieth
> The processes through which this evolution took place are considered with
> reference to the ways in which jazz was introduced to Britain through
> imported revue shows and sheet music.
> It is an extremely significant but often neglected fact that another group
> of American musicians, Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra,
> also came to Britain in 1919. Remarkably, extensive comparisons of the
> respective performances and reception of the ODJB and the SSO have not
> made in the available literature on jazz. Examination of the situation of
> one white and one black group of American musicians performing
> contemporaneously in London is extremely informative, as it evidences the
> continuing influence of the antecedents of jazz and the importance of both
> groups in shaping perceptions of jazz in Britain.
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