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Jazz and Popular Music: Swing, Dance, Radio and the Significance of Duke Ellington

Week 7: Jazz and popular Music: ‘Swing’, Dancing, Radio and the significance of Duke Ellington

What was ‘swing’ and what accounts for its popularity?

Was there a difference between jazz and popular music produced by bands like those led by Guy Lombardo and Jack Hylton?

How did social dancing change during the 1920s and 40s? How influential was the Lindy Hop?

What impact did the New Deal have on Jazz?

How important was radio in the interwar years?

Why was Duke Ellington significant?

 Sam's Lindy Hop ppt.

Core Readings


Eric Hobsbawm, ‘The People’s Swing’, London Review of Books, 24 November 1994 **

Howard Spring, ‘Swing and the Lindy Hop: Dance, Venue, Media, and Tradition’, American Music, Vol. 15, Issue 2, (1997) pp.183-207

Tim Wall, ‘Duke Ellington, the meaning of jazz and the BBC in the 1930s’, in Fagge and Pillai, New Jazz Conceptions (Routledge, 2017) [ebook]


Further Reading

Jeffrey Maggee ‘Ellington’s Afro-Modernist Vision of the 1920s’, Ch. 6 in Green, E. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington (CUP, 2014) [Ebook]

Joel Dinerstein, Swinging the Machine: modernity, technology, and African American culture between the World Wars (Amherst, U Mass, 2009)

Editorial, [On Lombardo]‘A Canadian musical icon deserves better’, Macleans (Nov 12, 2007): 2.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Dancing in the Street: A History of Collective Joy (London, Granta, 2007

Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz (OUP, 2011)

David Hajdu, Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn (1998)

Black Hawk Hancock, American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination (Chicago, 2013)

James Lincoln Collier, Jazz: The American Theme Song (1993)

James Lincoln Collier, The Making of Jazz (1978)

Julie Malnig, Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: a social and popular dance reader (Urbana, Illinois, 2009)

Deborah Mawer, French Music and Jazz in Conversation: From Debussy to Brubeck (CUP, 2014)

Deborah Mawer, 'Parisomania'? Jack Hylton and the French Connection, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 1/1/2008, Vol. 133, Issue 2, pp. 270-317

Francis Newton, The Jazz Scene (Various editions), Ch.2.

James Nott, Going to the Palais: A Social and Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918-65 (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Catherine Parsonage, The Evolution of Jazz in Britain, 1880-1935 (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005)

Richard M. Sudhalter, Lost Chords : White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945 (2001)

Alyn Shipton, A New History of Jazz (2001)

Marshall W. Stearns, The Story of Jazz (1956)

David W. Stowe, Swing Changes: Big-Band jazz in New Deal America (Cambridge, Harvard, 1996)

Frank Tirro, Jazz: A History (1993 edn.)

Mark Tucker (ed.), The Duke Ellington Reader (OUP, 1993)

Sherrie Tucker Swing Shift: All girl bands in the 1940s (Durham, Duke UP, 2000)

Elijah Wald, 'Louis Armstrong Loves Guy Lombardo' in Ake, Garrett and Goldmark, Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries (U California Press, 2014), pp.16-28 [Ebook]