By Gene Santoro
What do Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, Cassandra Wilson, and Ani DiFranco have in universal? In Highway sixty one Revisited, acclaimed track critic Gene Santoro says the answer's jazz--not simply the musical variety, yet jazz's exact atmosphere and attitudes.
As mythical bebop insurgent Charlie Parker as soon as placed it, "If you don't stay it, it won't pop out of your horn." Unwinding that Zen-like assertion, Santoro lines how jazz's existential artwork has infused awesome musicians in approximately each wing of yank well known music--blues, folks, gospel, psychedelic rock, state, bluegrass, soul, funk, hiphop--with its parallel strategy of self-discovery and inventive production via musical improvisation. Taking less-traveled paths throughout the final century of yankee pop, Highway sixty one Revisited maps unforeseen musical and cultural hyperlinks among such it appears disparate figures as Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Herbie Hancock; Miles Davis, Lenny Bruce, The thankful lifeless, Bruce Springsteen, etc. targeting jazz's energy to attach, Santoro indicates how the jazz milieu created a fertile house "where whites and blacks may meet in the US on anything like equivalent grounds," and certainly the place paintings and leisure, politics and poetry, mainstream tradition and its subversive offshoots have been drawn jointly in a heady combine whose effect has proved either far-reaching and doubtless inexhaustible.
Combining interviews and unique study, and marked all through via Santoro's vast ranging clutch of cultural historical past, Highway sixty one Revisited deals readers a brand new glance at--and a brand new means of listening to--the some ways jazz has coloured the total diversity of yank renowned track in all its astonishing large quantity.
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Extra resources for Highway 61 Revisited: The Tangled Roots of American Jazz, Blues, Rock, & Country Music
Soon jazz stars like tenor sax pioneer Coleman Hawkins were hiring him, and the teen became a ﬁxture at Harlem clubs like Minton’s and Monroe’s, where Dizzy Gillepsie, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and Charlie Christian were putting aside the big band charts that earned them their daily bread in order to toss their evolving ideas about harmonic extensions and rhythmic twists into the communal pot. Christian’s upbeat, Lester Young–ﬂavored guitar solos ﬁred the imagination; Gillespie and Monk were, in their different ways, expanding jazz’s language beyond the blues and pop, internalizing, as it were, the language of Gershwin and Debussy and rewriting it to new beats, which were Clarke’s insights, developed out of the need to redeﬁne the drummer’s role in small groups.
He wasn’t, but one of his chief allies was. Charles Seeger was a classically trained musicologist who championed American folk music as the authentic voice of the people, and thus inherently socially progressive. For Seeger, the ﬁne arts belonged to the ruling elite, and commercial popular music was a pablumized travesty of the ﬁne arts intended to lull the masses. With George Gershwin and Aaron Copland, who mined elements of jazz and country music, Seeger played a part in the broad intellectual trend fueled by the New Deal and the Popular Front into an outpouring of articles and books, documentaries and recordings: the desire to wrestle with the Emersonian question of American culture.
He could spend a day carelessly rolling down hills with kids in LA parks, squatting with bums in tenderloin districts, scribbling in his notebooks, sketching on his pad, watching clouds form. But he wasn’t motivated to succeed. When Burke urged him to report on conditions at Okie camps for his new liberal newspaper, Guthrie started writing the sort of tunes collected in 1940 on his ﬁrst commercial album, Dust Bowl Ballads. ” The Communist newspaper People’s World noted his “native class consciousness” and signed him to draw cartoons and author a daily column, replete with misspellings and grammatical errors he adopted in the comic Western dialect fashion of Twain and Harte.