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Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers

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Nominated for the 2012 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research

Click here to view an article by Duncan on British jazz in The Independent

The 1960’s was a decade of major transformation in British jazz and in British popular music in general. The British jazz scene had been, arguably, the first outside America to assert its independence. At first slowly but with gathering speed, it began to define an identity that drew increasingly on sources from within its own culture, as well as those from African-American jazz, and from its shared European cultural heritage. This process would in itself prove highly influential, as French, Italian, German and Scandinavian scenes began to follow suit. The nature of jazz, its scope and potential were re-examined and reformulated in this period with important implications for its musicians and its audience.

The external forces acting upon the British jazz scene were both global and local in origin. Jazz was not immune from the economic, social and cultural changes that occurred following the Second World War and which continued apace in the 1960’s. Its development was both affected by and reflected those changes and the new ways of thinking and acting that arose from them. And yet wider global economic and political changes, in particular in America, would continue to have a major impact on British jazz.

For these reasons, any history of British jazz in the 1960’s must explain these trends and describe which were global and which were local in origin. It must show how forces outside the music acted upon it and both created and limited its potential for development. But it must also define the personalities, as well as the context in which they functioned. Jazz is made by its musicians and is ultimately changed by them. What were the records that they made which defined the era? From where did their inspiration arise? And how did their audience respond?

Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers follows a number of themes – class, education, drugs and addictions, relationships with rock and blues, race and immigration, gender issues, the arts, politics and that sixties buzzword: ‘freedom’. In doing so, the book challenges many conventional understandings of British jazz and its scene. This is the definitive history of British jazz in the 1960’s.

Published: Oct 1, 2012

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Contents Duncan Heining
Acknowledgements Duncan Heining
Introduction Duncan Heining
Ancients and Moderns Duncan Heining
Class Will Out! Duncan Heining
Education, Education, Education Duncan Heining
Coming of Age in Soho Duncan Heining
Can’t Stop the Rock Duncan Heining
The Brain Drain Duncan Heining
One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer Duncan Heining
Rivers of Babylon, Rivers of Blood Duncan Heining
A Race Apart Duncan Heining
Sisters of Swing, Brothers in Arms Duncan Heining
The Best Things in Life Are Free Duncan Heining
The Artsman Cometh Duncan Heining
Lutte Ouvrière Duncan Heining
Lotta Continua Duncan Heining
End Matter
Conclusion: What is this Thing Called, Love? Duncan Heining
Appendix: 100 Essential British Jazz Records, 1957–76 Duncan Heining
Bibliography Duncan Heining
Index Duncan Heining

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Nominated for the 2012 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research

This is a powerful and insightful book with an outstanding breadth of musical and critical erudition.
Chris Searle, Morning Star

The most ambitious attempt at a history of this music and period to date.
The Wire, February 2013

A must-read for anyone interested in British jazz, and a thoughtful assessment of a radical period in British history.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

The definitive history of British Jazz in the '60s. A survey that's both erudite and right on.

His primary information sources are 70 (yes, really!) of his own first hand interviews with musicians and associates. The fact that Heining is dealing largely with his... musicianly peer group... brings with it a sense of involvement in a text which, though densely-packed, is compellingly articulate. Substantive and scholarly, is also Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers is also an enjoyable and rewarding read.
Roger Thomas, Jazz UK 103, November 2012

Heining deserves much credit for this epic tome exploring British jazz in one of its most exciting, if exasperating, eras. [He] has undertaken very thorough research: he has interviewed countless musicians, while his own spry style keeps you charmed. Trad Dads is a special contribution to jazz writing.
Heining's magnum opus is a mammoth undertaking. It's a richly erudite book – a formidable oeuvre with a dense text punctuated by some black and white photos and resplendent with a succession of illustrious names that will send readers scurrying to check their music collections.
Russell Newmark, The Beat

This is a quite remarkable book.
The Jazz Rag, Winter/Spring 2013

The text is erudite, well-researched and politically charged. It would be no exaggeration to suggest that this book is simply essential for anyone even remotely interested in British jazz.
Roger Farbey,

In this engaging book from Equinox, Duncan Heining sets out to locate the development of British jazz between 1960 and 1975 within the broader social, political, economic and cultural contexts in which it operated. More importantly, the book shines light on much music that has suffered neglect in recent years and yet remains rich, intriguing and often frankly wonderful.
Perfect Beat

This book is certainly one that fills a gap in the historical literature on jazz in Britain, by focusing on British jazz (that is, jazz played by native British or immigrant musicians) during a time of substantial political, socioeconomic and cultural change.

Jazz Research Journal

A much-needed modern history on a seminal period.
The New York City Jazz Record