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The Jazz Scene
  • The Jazz Scene

    Eric Hobsbawm. 


    Pantheon: 1993. Revised first edition. Hardcover in a jacket. Very good. Book's front board has a gash on its bottom and jacket has wear at the edges. 


    "Every jazz-lover has two or three clear, old-fashioned, rose-tinted pictures in the family album of his hobby. One is the classic New Orleans street parade: the musicians on their cart, cornet blazing, trombone sitting on the tailgate so that the slide moves freely, 'going to town' as the Basin Street whores leave their cribs to listen, the kitchen mechanics come to the doors tapping and shaking, and the conjure women stop selling their spells. Another is of the dance hall somewhere across the tracks: black faces on snappily dressed bodies, and the throb of the horns over the drum. A third is the 'rent party' in the slums of the Chicago South Side or Harlem: pigs' feet, beer, whisky, and the hypnotic rhythm of the piano: 

    Give the piano player a drink because he's bringing me down. 

    He's got rhythm: when he stomps his feet 

    He sends me right off to sleep. 

    A fourth is certainly the honky-tonk: a big man at the upright piano with a derby har, men with drinks, girls and their pimps - themselves, as like as not piano players or pool-room sharks, or both - and the cry: 'Play that thing, mister, oh, play that thing.' When the words 'the jazz public' are mentioned, it is images like these which come most naturally into the minds of the aficionados. Mistakenly so."

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