What African Americans could not achieve in the courtroom they did in the dance hall, with the invention of a rebellious, and wholly American, new musical artform.
Editor's Note: Brent Glass is Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the author of 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S., from which this essay is adapted.
During the World War I, American jazz bands played at hospitals, rest camps and other venues, delighting doughboys and Europeans alike.
Geoffrey C. Ward, writer of a major new book and 19-hour
documentary (directed by Ken Burns) on the subject, discusses the joys and wonders of our native art form
Geoffrey C. Ward is no stranger to American Heritage, where he served as editor and later as a columnist.
American jazz musicians once enjoyed a freedom and respect in France’s capital that they could never win at home. Landmarks of that era still abound.
For all the books and films that have been done about painters and writers who went to Paris, far less has been written about the lives of musicians from the United States who settled there, some for a while, a few for their whole lives.
Seventy-five years ago this month, a not especially good band cut a record that transformed our culture
About 325,000 jazz performances have been recorded for commercial release in the twentieth century, according to the Institute for Jazz Studies, at Rutgers University. Plus thousands more have been taken from radio and concert events.
An Inquiry Into the Origins of Jazz
Jazz endures in a special sort of American reserve. Accepted as a part of our national heritage, still it is as if the interior sound of this music prevents most of us from embracing it as fully as we have its derivatives, pop music and rock.
An Interview With the King of Swing
Benny Goodman strolled down New York’s Second Avenue one recent morning, covering the nine blocks between his apartment and a health club, where he swims each day, in about ten minutes.