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The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History by Scott DeVeaux

Recently several superb books about jazz have appeared-Paul Berliner’s Thinking in Jazz, Barry Kernfeld’s What to Listen for in Jazz, Fujioka’s collaborative Coltrane discography, and a few others. Scott DeVeaux’s newest book definitely belongs on that list.

Though trained as a musician and music scholar, DeVeaux chooses here to discuss not only the musical features of swing and early bebop, but to explain this music “as an integral part of American history and culture.” With meticulous care he has sifted through a mountain of information about swing and early bebop, giving equal emphasis to social, racial, economic and musical issues. He has reassessed many well known facts and assumptions, and given us a fresh portrayal of this fascinating time in music history.

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