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Too many jazz fans and critics–and even some jazz musicians–still contend that white players have contributed little of substance to the music; that even, with every white musician removed from the canon, the history and nature of jazz would remain unchanged. Now, with Lost Chords, musician-historian Richard M. Sudhalter challenges this narrow view, with a book that pays definitive tribute to a generation of white jazz players, many unjustly forgotten–while never scanting the role of the great black pioneers.
Greeted enthusiastically by the jazz community upon its original publication, this monumental volume offers an exhaustively documented, vividly narrated history of white jazz contribution in the vital years 1915 to 1945. Beginning in New Orleans, Sudhalter takes the reader on a fascinating multicultural odyssey through the hot jazz gestation centers of Chicago and New York, Indiana and Texas, examining such bands such as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, the Original Memphis Five, and the Casa Loma Orchestra. Readers will find luminous accounts of many key soloists, including Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Red Norvo, Bud Freeman, the Dorsey Brothers, Bunny Berigan, Pee Wee Russell, and Artie Shaw, among others. Sudhalter reinforces the reputations of these and many other major jazzmen, pleading their cases persuasively and eloquently, without ever descending to polemic. Along the way, he gives due credit to Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, and countless other major black figures.
Already hailed as a basic reference book on the subject–and now incorporating information that has come to light since its first publication–Lost Chords is a ground-breaking book that should significantly alter perceptions about jazz and its players, reminding readers of this great music’s multicultural origins.