Item Details

‘Rock, roll and remember?’: Addressing the legacy of jazz in popular music studies

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2004)

Journal: Popular Music History

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v1i2.125


This article addresses the under-representation of jazz within popular music studies and canons of popular music. It asks why a popular genre which shared so much with rock and roll--regarding its implication in American race relations, youth, leisure, mass media, etc.--came to be treated as something separate from post-war popular music. I argue that jazz’s musical and social parallels with rock and roll have been neglected because, on the one hand, jazz criticism and scholarship has been so invested in raising jazz’s status to an art music that its most commercial forms have been given little serious coverage. On the other hand, many popular music scholars have been invested in portraying rock and roll as a ‘revolutionary’ genre, and have therefore sought to show disjuncture, not parallels, with popular music from before 1950. Through this historiographical analysis, this article urges scholars to critically address the ‘received narratives’ which inform popular music studies curricula, and consider how these narratives are formed along generational, subcultural, and regional lines.

Author: Chris McDonald

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