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Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz
by Benjamin Cawthra (Goodreads Author)
Miles Davis, supremely cool behind his shades. Billie Holiday, eyes closed and head tilted back in full cry. John Coltrane, one hand behind his neck and a finger held pensively to his lips. These iconic images have captivated jazz fans nearly as much as the music has. Jazz photographs are visual landmarks in American history, acting as both a reflection and a vital part of ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by University Of Chicago Press
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This is an interesting history of American Jazz, told through the cultural studies lens of photography. You learn as much about the music as you do the photography. The struggles of the musicians intertwine with those of the photographers as the various strains of jazz--swing, bebop, hard bop, new thing, avant garde--develop and compete for America's commercial and intellectual attention. The author seems to uphold the Murray-Crouch-Marsalis critique of post-1968 jazz-fusion directions (i.e., ...more
I had thought this book would be something of a coffee table book with many photos, but it is a scholarly work instead. I was disappointed in the poor quality of the paper, which is hardly decent even for the writing, and most certainly puts all the photos in their worst light. That, of course, is not the fault of the author. I was, however, pleased to see voluminous notes at the end of the book. I cannot abide pseudo-research wherein the author does not list her/his sources, but that is ...more
This was a book I received in a Goodreads giveaway. I absolutely love jazz, and was excited to look through the photographs of some of the early jazz legends. The pictures were a little disappointing, however; and in fact, I thought there would have been a lot more, and bigger pictures. I'm not against reading, but judging by the title, I assumed the focus in this particular book would be on photography. Despite that, it was still enjoyable, and did have some good photographs.