When Genres Collide Down Beat, Rolling Stone, and the Struggle between Jazz and Rock

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-02-09
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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In an essay on the future of jazz penned in 1955, Duke Ellington suggested that the new music called rock 'n' roll “is the most raucous form of jazz, beyond a doubt.” So why did jazz and rock become separate genres when they shared so many similar musical and cultural characteristics? The rift between jazz and rock - and jazz and rock scholarship - is based on a set of received assumptions as to why jazz and rock are different. In When Genres Collide, Matt Brennan argues that there are other ways popular music history could have been written (and has been written) that call the oppositional representation of jazz and rock into question. The book challenges the traditional divide between jazz and rock by going back to how they were first covered in the two oldest surviving and most influential jazz and rock periodicals: Down Beat and Rolling Stone. It examines afresh the critical moments in history when the trajectories and meanings of jazz and rock intersected, overlapped, or collided in dramatic ways. Ultimately, the book shows how music critics gradually constructed a divide between the two genres that would be replicated for decades to come in both music journalism and music scholarship. This book will be valuable to the fields of both popular music studies and jazz studies, and in fact aims to bridge a gap between these two musical worlds.

Author Biography

Matt Brennan is a Chancellor's Fellow of Music at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Early American Jazz as the Precursor to Rock 'n' Roll

Chapter 2 Down Beat and Mid-Century Popular Music Coverage

Chapter 3 The American Jazz Press Covers Rock

Chapter 4 The Birth of Rolling Stone

Chapter 5 Newport 1969 and the Uneasy Coupling of Jazz and Rock



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