In this book Robert Crunden puts the “jazz” back in the Jazz Age. Jazz was America’s greatest contribution to the Modernist movement, yet it is much overlooked. When we hear the term “Jazz Age,” we conjure the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Eliot, not Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. In order to correct this imbalance, Crunden re-introduces us to these musical luminaries who gave the era its name as he traces the early history of jazz from New Orleans to Chicago to New York. While Crunden emphasizes music over literature and the visual arts, he never fails to map the complex cross-currents of literature that passed between jazz musicians and their “Lost Generation” peers, a veritable pageant of the glittering personalities of the day-James Joyce, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, John Dos Passos, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein.
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