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New Book Press Release - Jazz on the River by William Howland Kenney

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  • Scott Alexander
    William Howland Kenney *Jazz on the River*. 248 p., 23 halftones, 1 map. 6 x 9 2005 Cloth $27.50 0-226-43733-7 Spring 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2005
      William Howland Kenney
      *Jazz on the River*.
      248 p., 23 halftones, 1 map. 6 x 9 2005
      Cloth $27.50 0-226-43733-7 Spring 2005

      Just after World War I, the musical style called jazz began a waterborne
      journey outward from that quintessential haven of romance and decadence,
      New Orleans. For the first time in any organized way, steam-driven boats
      left town during the summer months to tramp the Mississippi River,
      bringing an exotic new music to the rest of the nation. For
      entrepreneurs promoting jazz, this seemed a promising way to spread
      northward the exciting sounds of the Crescent City. And the musicians no
      longer had to wait for folks upriver to make their way down to New
      Orleans to hear the vibrant rhythms, astonishing improvisations, and new
      harmonic idioms being created.

      Simply put, when jazz went upstream, it went mainstream, and in Jazz on
      the River, William Howland Kenney brings to life the vibrant history of
      this music and its seduction of the men and women along America's inland
      waterways. Here for the first time readers can learn about the lives and
      music of the levee roustabouts promoting riverboat jazz and their
      relationships with such great early jazz adventurers as Louis Armstrong,
      Fate Marable, Warren "Baby" Dodds, and Jess Stacy. Kenney follows the
      boats from Memphis to St. Louis, where new styles of jazz were soon
      produced, all the way up the Ohio River, where the music captivated
      audiences in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh alike.

      Jazz on the River concludes with the story of the decline of the old
      paddle wheelers-and thus riverboat jazz-on the inland waterways after
      World War II. The enduring silence of our rivers, Kenney argues, reminds
      us of the loss of such a distinctive musical tradition. But riverboat
      jazz still lives on in myriad permutations, each one in tune with our
      own times.


      Introduction: Playing Changes: Music, Movement, and the Performance of
      Power on "America's River Nile"
      1. "Masters of the River": Streckfus Steamers, Inc. and the "Swan Complex"
      2. Fate Marable, Musical Professionalism, and the Great Migration
      3. Groovin' on the River: Louis Armstrong and Riverboat Culture
      4. From Beale Street to Market Street: Music and Movement Through
      Memphis and St. Louis
      5. "Blue River": Bix Beiderbecke and Jess Stacy on the Mississippi
      6. Steamin' to the End of the Line: Jazz On, Along, and Beyond the Ohio
      Epilogue: The Decline and Fall of Excursion Boat Jazz in St. Louis
      Appendix A: Excursion Boat Musicians
      Appendix B: River Songs and Tunes

      Scott Alexander
      The Red Hot Jazz Archive
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