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Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White

Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White (Paperback, New edition)

By Lees, Gene

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This study looks at the pervasiveness of racism in jazz's past and present - both the white racism that long ghettoized the music and generations of talented black musicians, and the increasingly virulent reverse racism aimed at white jazz musicians.

ISBN 9780195102871
Barcode 9780195102871
Published 1 January 1996 by Oxford University Press (S3)
Format Paperback, New edition
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780195102871
ISBN-10 0195102878
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Oxford University Press (S3)
Imprint Oxford University Press Inc
Publication Date 1 January 1996
International Publication Date 1 April 1999
Publication Country United States United States
Format Paperback, New edition
Edition New edition
Author(s) By Lees, Gene
Category Jazz
Blues music
Ethnic Studies
Equal Opportunities
Number of Pages 256
Dimensions Width: 136mm
Height: 205mm
Spine: 13mm
Weight 224g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Racial discrimination, Jazz and blues
NBS Text Music & Dance
ONIX Text Professional and scholarly
Dewey Code 781.65
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

It was none other than Louis Armstrong who said, 'These people who make the restrictions, they don't know nothing about music. It's no crime for cats of any colour to get together and blow.' In Cats of Any Color, Gene Lees takes a long overdue look at the shocking pervasiveness of racism in jazz's past and present - both the white racism that long ghettoized the music and generations of talented black musicians, and what Lees maintains is an increasingly virulent reverse racism aimed at white jazz musicians. In candid interviews, living jazz legends such as Horace Silver, Red Rodney (Charlie Parker's white trumpet player), and Dave Brubeck (part Modoc Indian), step forward and share their thoughts on how racism has affected their lives. At the heart of this book is a passionate plea to recognize jazz not as the sole property of any one group, but as an art form celebrating the human spirit.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review Lees is the glowing jewel of jazz for his understanding of it, for his writing about it, and for his lyrics, which are always perfect for the music. --Dizzy Gillespie<br> I feel so strongly about the importance of this book that if I had time I would gladly go to people's houses, take them by the wrist, and lead them to the nearest bookstore....It is a truly important social document. --Steve Allen<br>
US Review Another sterling collection of essays by one of our best jazz critics, drawn from his superb newsletter, Jazzletter. Lees (Waiting for Dizzy, 1991, etc.) is back with more of the elegant writing and insightful thought that has made him such a highly praised music critic. Tying this collection together are some sharp observations - both by Lees and by the musicians he profiles - about the ethnic and racial roots of jazz and the ways in which they reflect the tensions that afflict American society. In the opening essay, he writes movingly about growing up in Canada as a young jazz buff and about his encounters with racism both as an adolescent and as a young journalist. Elsewhere in the book, he offers profiles of Dave Brubeck, who is part Native American; musicologist Dominique de Lerma, who discourses on the multiplicity of cultures that have fed into jazz music; bassist Red Mitchell, who offers some mordant comments on the decay of American democracy; singer Ernie Andrews, who talks about the effects of racism in Los Angeles both in the '40s and today. Finally, in one of the longest pieces in any of his collections, he takes on the anti-white bias of many black musicians and writers, and fires a convincing broadside at the monumental and hollow edifice that is trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. This last piece is not calculated to endear him to anyone of a black nationalist bent, nor will its equally fiery attacks on white racism win him any friends among neoconservatives. But Lees has long been one of those handful of social and arts critics who say what needs to be said. Essential reading for any serious jazz fan or student of American culture. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author's Bio

Gene Lees is the award-winning author of Waiting for Dizzy, Meet Me at Jim and Andy's, and Singers and the Song, as well as biographies of Oscar Peterson and Lerner and Loewe. A former editor of Down Beat, he has written extensively for Stereo Review, The New York Times and other publications. Since 1981 he has published, edited, and written for the respected JazzLetter.

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