Jackson, Travis. 2012. Blowin’ the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Blowin’ the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene is an ethnography by Travis Jackson, detailing the study of Jazz music in America. Jackson starts off by questioning of what exactly Jazz is, and how inclusive the word Jazz really is. He hopes to provide an examination of not just the music but also the interpretive moves and the interactions that musicians have. This approach differs from the norm, not solely focusing on musical terminology and analysis, but encompasses all aspects of Jazz. Jackson’s work travels through various aspects of musical …show more content…
He discusses all of those musical events that were so interesting to him. He talks about the overall aesthetic of Jazz and how it has shifted towards a blues feel. He moves on to the use of Jazz in ritual activity, being an important part of cultural events and significance. He finally looks at the use of Jazz on stage and in the studio, detailing events and producers that feature and produce Jazz. He described several Jazz radio stations, which would play a variety of music’s, all considered sub-genres of Jazz. Fascinatingly, each station places very different sounding music. To aid in reading, Jackson has added a variety of tables and images throughout the book as well.
The book definitely provides an alternative look at Jazz music, effectively incorporating details other than simply the music. The author does very well at describing the musical events and aesthetics that he analyses and presents to us. I feel that Jackson completed his original purpose in a complete and adequate manner.
The feeling that I got from reading the book, was an interesting view into the integration of culture and Jazz, and the altered perceptions of it. I would have liked to see an emphasis on Jazz in additional cultures alongside African American, but as that is the most prevalent, it is logical to focus mostly on it. With the wealth of information divulged, I didn’t find myself wanting for …show more content…
The paragraphs tended to blend together and felt tedious to read at some points. Comprehension was natural most of the time, but the author did use some unfamiliar terms.
Pertaining to class, the work felt that it connected with the theme of ethnographies. It encompassed more than just the music, detailing culture, location, setting, and more. The author focused on events and that is exactly what our own personal ethnographies included. I could definitely draw some parallels between what we wrote and what I just read.
For an individual with interests in Jazz I would recommend this book because of the level of detail and information it includes. Otherwise I would rate it around a three or a four. If one doesn’t have an interest in Jazz, it is hard to get excited about the work, as Jazz is all it encompasses. It is a scholarly document, so I would not classify it as entertaining to read, but it was well written, in a conversational tone. So it is a good and useful book, just not one that most would find relatable or