Charles Hersch Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans media
It seems there was at least one ‘positive’ aspect to Hurricane Katrina: that it seems to have had an effect in revitalising interest in the music and culture of New Orleans.
In this book political science professor Hersch has gathered information including oral histories from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane to provide a study of the role of race in the origins of jazz.
It’s a fascinating, complex (and frankly bizarre in places to a 21st century mindset) story, showing one of the world’s major melting pots in action. It shows how musicians (both black and white) such as Jelly Roll Morton, Nick La Rocca, and Louis Armstrong were able to make their mark on history in the unique environment of New Orleans. Hersch also points to the role of the audience in the development of jazz : “ordinary listeners in subtle ways were co-creators of the music, shaping its hybrid form”.
- Chris Byrne
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