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DeVeaux, Scott. Constructing the Jazz Tradition - Essay Example

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The official version of jazz history, as described by Scott DeVeaux, is the one found on textbooks and taught in universities as an appreciation class (1). Additionally, though emphases vary, this official version has the unified distinction of music style, clamored musicians,…
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DeVeaux, Scott. Constructing the Jazz Tradition
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A Peek of Jazz History: In the Context of Scott Deveaux’s “Constructing the Jazz Tradition” Official Version The official version of jazz history,as described by Scott DeVeaux, is the one found on textbooks and taught in universities as an appreciation class (1). Additionally, though emphases vary, this official version has the unified distinction of music style, clamored musicians, and masterpieces (DeVeaux 1). The official version also showcased the distinguishing factor of jazz music among others -- its substantial form reflecting “the culmination of a long process of maturation” (DeVeaux 2). Indeed, this version purposely posited its standard, superiority, and acceptability through assuming its position in educational institutions.
The Linear History and Its Unmaking
Jazz history’s linear history came into being through the acknowledgement of its African roots by the American people (i.e., dubbed as a “rare and valuable national American treasure”), which reinforced the un-ambiguity and clear ‘linear’ path of jazz history (DeVeaux 2). In the process of this history’s unmaking, Tirro (291) pointed out how it lost its “historical strand that linked contemporary jazz to its roots...” (qtd. in Deveaux 2). On the other hand, it gained more forms or terms such as “cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, Third Stream, and New Thing” (DeVeaux 2). Interestingly, this unmaking story of jazz history is a common pattern among other music history; the original or traditional music has to become obsolete to pave the way for the creation of another music of similar ilk.
Bebop Aftermath
The bebop era left a series of casualties in the jazz history. First, it successfully caused the dissolution of jazz’s “evolutionary lineage” through the percolation of different, “and in some cases mutually hostile styles” (DeVeaux 2). Second, the era pulled the traditional jazz to “contrasting directions,” through emerging music genres such as free jazz and jazz/rock fusion, and placed jazz music in a very pluralistic standpoint (DeVeaux 3). DeVeaux’s view evidently places the bebop era and influence as the main culprits in obscuring the official jazz history.
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DeVeaux, Scott. “Constructing the Jazz Tradition,” n.d. PDF file. Read More
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