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Pioneers of Jazz. The Story of the Creole Band. Lawrence Gushee. The Creole Band has unique significance as the first jazz band, those who.
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While audiences, who often expected and got a kind of minstrel show, the group transcended expectations, taking pride in their music and facing down the theatrical establishment with courage.


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Although they played the West Coast and Canada, most of their touring centered in the heartland. Most towns of any size in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana heard them, often repeatedly, and virtually all of their appearances were received with wild enthusiasm. After four years of nearly incessant traveling, members of the band founded or joined groups in Chicago South Side cabaret scene, igniting the craze for hot New Orleans music for which the Windy City was renowned in the early s. The best-known musicians in the group--cornetist Freddie Keppard, clarinetist Jimmy Noone and string bassist Bill Johnson--would play a significant role in jazz, becoming famous for recordings in the s.

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Gushee effectively brings to life each member of the band and discusses their individual contributions, while analyzing the music with precision, skillful and exacting documentation. Including many never before published photos and interviews, the book also provides an invaluable and colorful look at show business, especially vaudeville, in the s. Gushee effectively brings to life each member of the band and discusses their individual contributions, while analyzing the music with precision, skillful and exacting documentation.

Including many never before published photos and interviews, the book also provides an invaluable and colorful look at show business, especially vaudeville, in the s. While some of the first jazz historians were aware of the band's importance, attempts to locate and interview surviving members three died before were sporadic and did little or nothing to correct the mostly erroneous accounts of the band's career.

The jazz world has long known about Gushee's original work on this previously neglected subject, and the book represents an important event in jazz scholarship.

Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band by Lawrence Gushee

Pioneers of Jazz brilliantly places this group's unique importance into a broad cultural and historical context, and provides the crucial link between jazz's origins in New Orleans and the beginning of its dissemination across the country. The Final Season 7: He has devoted himself to research on music in the Middle Ages, as well as jazz and related musics. A clarinetist, he performs ragtime and jazz of the period It also brightens our image of those that later achieved recognition and fame.


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The book is extremely evocative of the spirit of the vaudeville era. Vaudeville was done twenty years before I was born and I've never really read much about it. After reading this book I finally understand what it was and how it worked. The author has done a tremendous job documenting the band's entire history, including very interesting chapters on the musicians' careers before and after their time with the Creole Band.

This is a first-class piece of research and one that should be in every collection of jazz historians.

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The range of documentary evidence Gushee brings to bear on the topic is truly astonishing. Virtually no kind of documentary evidence escapes his notice. In a series of earlier articles that are well known among jazz scholars, Gushee demonstrated how to work with this range of diverse evidence.

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In Pioneers of Jazz he goes much further. The book reflects the work of a lifetime.


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Embedded in these pages is some of the smartest thinking I have seen about not just this topic but vernacular music generally. Gushee has opened up so many wonderful issues in this book that it will take some time to come to grips with it.

Pioneers of Jazz

Such meticulous scholarship is enriched by the author's obvious personal passion for the music he performs ragtime and early jazz on clarinet. Written in a congenial scholarly tone, this book makes an important contribution to jazz history. A truly major contribution to our comprehension of the music's early history. Lawrence Gushee's Pioneers of Jazz is meticulously researched and soundly reasoned.

It offers a compelling argument for the primacy of the Original Creole Orchestra in the dissemination of New Orleans jazz and masterful insight into the world of vaudeville. Required reading for anyone interested in the history of jazz or American music.