Bourbon Street Black

Bourbon Street Black : New Orleans Black Jazzmen

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Explores the lifestyles and attitudes of the black musicians community in New Orleans. Bibliogsshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 254 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 17.78mm | 272.15g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • photographs, text-figure
  • 019501832X
  • 9780195018325

Review Text

This book effectively undermines the stereotyped American view of the black jazz musician as a flamboyant, charismatic but essentially tragic, doomed figure destined to dissipate his talents in a downward spiral of cheap gigs, booze, drugs and joyless one-night stands. Today it just ain't so, say the authors. Most of the men and women making the music are not Charlie Parkers and Billie Holidays. The steamy, sinful ambience of New Orleans in the days of Buddy Bolden and Storyville is no more. Today most of the men who make a living in jazz have stable, intact family lives. Their social and economic status has become more secure thanks to Local 496 which protects its members from exploitation, serves as a clearinghouse for jobs, etc. More and more the jazzmen are working professionals. All this may seem fairly obvious but authors Buerkle and Barker have probed further. They see Bourbon Street Black as a cohesive, supportive black "semicommunity" with strong historic roots in the musical past of the Crescent City, bound by familial, occupational and generational ties. Not organized or structured in any formal way, it is inclusive and accepting even of white musicians. Evolving steadily since the days of New Orleans' unique Creole culture, Bourboh Street Black has created and perpetuated an encouraging and responsive musical climate for young jazzmen seeking to follow in the footsteps of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong. Against those who argue that today jazz is defunct in its home town, this book builds a persuasive case for the continuity and vitality of a tradition. The authors are not interested in the tortured geniuses - the people who speak here are workaday musicians, sidemen mostly, some with other bourgeois daytime jobs but they are all steeped in a community and a climate of musical fecundity. This in itself makes this book an unusual entry in a field where most of the attention has generally been paid to superstars. (Kirkus Reviews)show more