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Title: Making America's music : jazz history and the Jazz Preservation Act
Author: Farley, Jeff
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 192X
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2008
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The aim of this thesis is to investigate some significant examples of the process by which jazz has been shaped by the music industry and government and their ideas of the place of jazz within American culture and society. The examples demonstrate that the history and traditions of jazz are not fixed entities, but rather constructions used to understand and utilise issues of race, national identity, cultural value, and musical authenticity and innovation. Engagement with such issues has been central to identifying jazz as America’s music, as it earned this status from its worldwide popularity and its identity as an innovative black American art form. Recognition for jazz as American music, in conjunction with its improvisational nature, consequently led to the identification of jazz as ‘democratic’ music through its role in racial integration in America and in its representation of American democracy in government propaganda programmes. The different histories of jazz and its status as democratic, American music have all been especially important to the development of House Concurrent Resolution 57 in 1987, referred to as the Jazz Preservation Act (JPA). Authored by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, the JPA defined jazz as a ‘national treasure’ that deserved public support and inclusion in the education system. Few in the industry have criticised the recognition and public subsidy of jazz, but many have found fault with the JPA’s definitions of jazz and its history that have dictated this support. While the JPA has essentially continued the practice of shaping jazz through ideas of its place within American culture and society, it has provided immense resources to promote a fixed history and canon for jazz. Specifically, the JPA has promoted jazz as the American music, taking a particular stance on the histories of race and discrimination in the industry and the definitions of authentic jazz that had been sources of disagreement, competition, and creativity since the release of the first jazz record in 1917.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: E151 United States (General) ; HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; M Music