Highway 61 Revisited

Highway 61 Revisited : The Tangled Roots of American Jazz, Blues, Rock, & Country Music

3.53 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
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What do Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, Cassandra Wilson, and Ani DiFranco have in common? In Highway 61 Revisited, acclaimed music critic Gene Santoro says the answer is jazz-not just the musical style, but jazz's distinctive ambiance and attitudes. As legendary bebop rebel Charlie Parker once put it, "If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Unwinding that Zen-like statement, Santoro traces how jazz's existential art has infused outstanding musicians in nearly every wing of American popular music-blues, folk, gospel, psychedelic rock, country, bluegrass, soul, funk, hiphop-with its parallel process of self-discovery and artistic creation through musical improvisation. Taking less-traveled paths through the last century of American pop, Highway 61 Revisited maps unexpected musical and cultural links between such apparently disparate figures as Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Herbie Hancock; Miles Davis, Lenny Bruce, The Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and many others. Focusing on jazz's power to connect, Santoro shows how the jazz milieu created a fertile space "where whites and blacks could meet in America on something like equal grounds," and indeed where art and entertainment, politics and poetry, mainstream culture and its subversive offshoots were drawn together in a heady mix whose influence has proved both far-reaching and seemingly inexhaustible. Combining interviews and original research, and marked throughout by Santoro's wide ranging grasp of cultural history, Highway 61 Revisited offers readers a new look at-and a new way of listening to-the many ways jazz has colored the entire range of American popular music in all its dazzling profusion.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 158.5 x 244.3 x 26.9mm | 607.82g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0195154819
  • 9780195154818
  • 1,370,376

Review quote

"Insightful, informative.... The nonmusical issues that inevitably bubble up in Santoro's discussions of music-marginalism, politics, and, most frequently, race-reflect concerns of the country in general. One issue that doesn't trouble Santoro is that longstanding bugaboo of cultural arbiters, authenticity; as he compellingly demonstrates, overwrought concerns about an artist's genuineness impede cultural vitality."-Booklist "When he focuses on postwar jazz or on artists like Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, with whom he passionately identifies, Santoro is an engaged and insightful writer, and his wide-ranging tastes illuminate odd and interesting facets of his subjects."-Elijah Wald, The Washington Post Book World "At its best, the writing here is lively and insightful, describing the aerobatics of a Louis Armstrong solo or a death's-head rasp of Miles Davis's voice.... Santoro's pleasure in the music always shines through."-New York Times Book Review "An informed, thought-provoking book that will appeal to general readers and fans."-Library Journalshow more

About Gene Santoro

Gene Santoro is jazz and popular music critic for The Nation. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Down Beat. He is the author of two volumes of essays, Dancing in Your Head and Stir It Up, as well as the widely praised biography Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus. He divides his time between New York City and Shokan.show more

Rating details

15 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 7% (1)
4 53% (8)
3 27% (4)
2 13% (2)
1 0% (0)
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