A History Of Jazz In Britain 1919-50

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A History of Jazz In Britain 1919-50 was the first truly comprehensive survey of the phenomenon from a purely British perspective. Despite the increase in jazz literature before it was first published in 1984, there is no other book to rival it. This new edition includes additional photographs and an updated text.

The author, who began a lifelong involvement with jazz at eighteen as the secretary of the 161 Rhythm Club, Sidcup, Kent, and has yet to ‘grow out of it’, examines in great detail the arrival of the music with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919, the struggles towards the establishment of criteria, the big-band era, the disastrous Musicians’ Union ban and the extraordinary internecine warfare caused by the advent of bop.

The American trail-blazing artists and bands of the period are all covered: the ODJB itself, Ted Lewis (with Jimmy Dorsey and Muggsy Spanier), Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Paul Whiteman, Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Sidney Bechet and many more. Their influence on British musicians is examined, as are the press reports of the time (some quite hilarious, others downright offensive). The specialist magazines, especially the Melody Maker, the rhythm clubs, discographers and pundits and the roots of British trad and bop are all discussed . In addition, the book tells of the fascinating cloak-and-dagger plots which culminated in the presentation of Sidney Bechet and Coleman Hawkins on British stages in defiance of the Musicians’ Union ban and of the resulting court fiasco.

All this wealth of conscientiously researched detail is related with the trenchant and pithy humour for which the author is well-known, and the result is both an indispensable reference tool for the aficionado and an interesting, sometimes startling, read for the lay observer.

1. When I Hear That Jazz Band Play
2. The Melody Maker
3. Stumbling Towards Criteria
4. Early Definitions, Bands and Records
5. Odd Bedfellows
6. Leading up To Louis
7. Duke and Less Mortals
8. Pundits, Record Companies, Rhythm Clubs
9. Books and Magazines
10. Discographers
11. Archer Street Jazzmen and the BBC
12. Peckham Pandemonium and Humphrey Lyttelton
13. Heebie Jeebie Boys
14. Jazz Comes to Britain by Stealth
15. Jazz and Justice
16. Britain’s First Real Jazz Age

JIM GODBOLT was born in south London in 1922. He became manager of George Webb’s Dixielanders in 1946 after demobilization from the Royal Navy. He ran a band agency with Lyn Dutton and Humphrey Lyttelton in 1951 and formed his own agency in 1952, representing Mick Mulligan’s Magnolia Jazz Band, the Sandy Brown-Al Fairweather All-Stars and various pop groups including the Swinging Blue Jeans. He left the entertainment business in 1971 to concentrate on a career in writing, supporting himself with work as a meter reader, and published an autobiography, All This And 10%, later updated to include his hilarious meter-reading experiences as All This And Many A Dog. In 1979 he founded Jazz At Ronnie Scott’s, the house magazine of Ronnie Scott’s Club, which he still edits. His other books include A History of Jazz in Britain 1950-70 and the World of Jazz in Printed Ephemera and Collectibles.