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Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and '40s by Andrew S. Berish

Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and '40s


Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams Place, Mobility, and Race in Jazz of the 1930s and '40s by Andrew S. Berish

Any listener knows the power of music to define a place, but few can describe the how or why of this phenomenon. In Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams , Andrew S. Berish attempts to right this wrong, showcasing how American jazz defined a culture particularly preoccupied with place. By analyzing both the performances and cultural context of leading jazz figures, including the many famous venues where they played, Berish bridges two dominant scholarly approaches to the genre, offering not only a new reading of swing era jazz but an entirely new framework for musical analysis in general, one that examines how the geographical realities of daily life can be transformed into musical sound. Focusing on white bandleader Jan Garber, black bandleader Duke Ellington, white saxophonist Charlie Barnet, and black guitarist Charlie Christian, as well as traveling from Catalina Island to Manhattan to Oklahoma City, Lonesome Roads and Streets of Dreams depicts not only a geography of race but how this geography was disrupted, how these musicians crossed physical and racial boundaries - from black to white, South to North, and rural to urban - and how they found expression for these movements in the insistent music they were creating.


In Lonesome Roads, Andrew Berish has done scholars and fans of American music a great service. Beyond unearthing a treasure trove of information on musical and cultural life in the United States during the 1930s and '40s, Berish sheds welcome light on what the swing era's various sounds and grooves - both 'sweet

'hot' - meant to the people who created, listened to and danced to them. His interpretations of jazz's role in shaping experiences of space, place, and time for musicians and their audiences are simply brilliant. Clear and engaging from start to finish, this is an outstanding book. (David Ake, University of Nevada, Reno)'

About the Author

Andrew S. Berish is assistant professor in the Humanities and Cultural Studies Department at the University of South Florida.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th June 2012


Andrew S. Berish

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University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press


312 pages


Cultural studies



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