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by Frank Kofsky

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Author: Frank Kofsky
ISBN: 0873488601
Language: English
Pages: 200 pages
Category: Music
Publisher: Pathfinder Pr (January 1, 1998)
Rating: 4.5
Formats: lit mbr docx lrf
FB2 size: 1823 kb | EPUB size: 1385 kb | DJVU size: 1548 kb
Sub: Photo

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Probes the conflicts between the artistry of Black musicians and the control by largely white-owned businesses of jazz distribution-the recording companies, booking agencies, festivals, clubs . Library descriptions.

Probes the conflicts between the artistry of Black musicians and the control by largely white-owned businesses of jazz distribution-the recording companies, booking agencies, festivals, clubs, and magazines.

Learn more about Black Music, White Business: Illuminating The .

Learn more about Black Music, White Business: Illuminating The History And Political Economy Of Jazz by Frank Kofsky. Part 1: the political economy of jazz then and now 1 'You don't own your own product': an introduction to the political economy of jazz, p. 15 2 Why let a little thing like death interfere with exploitation?, p. 27 3 'Selling records to colored people': white contempt for black art, p. 41 4 If you're black, get back: double standards in the recording industry, p. 61.

Jazz Educators Journal. View it in the Music Periodicals Database. Drag and drop files here.

Black Music, White Business: Illuminating the History and Political Economy of Jazz by Frank Kofsky. Probes the principal contradiction in the jazz world: that between black artistry on the one hand and white ownership of the means of jazz distribution - the recording companies, booking agencies, festivals, nightclubs, and magazines - on the other.

Frank Kofsky (1935–1997) was an American Marxist historian, author, and Professor of History at California State . Black Music, White Business: Illuminating the History and Political Economy of Jazz (Pathfinder Press, 1998). ISBN 978-0-87348-859-4.

Frank Kofsky (1935–1997) was an American Marxist historian, author, and Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, from 1969 until his death. Lenny Bruce: The Comedian as Social Critic and Secular Moralist (Anchor Foundation, 1974).

Black Music, White Business: Illuminating the History and Political Economy of Jazz. Probes the conflicts between the artistry of Black musicians and the control by largely white-owned businesses of jazz distribution-the recording companies, booking agencies, festivals, clubs, and magazines.

Black music, white business by Frank Kofsky.

Black music, white business. illuminating the history and political economy of jazz. 1st ed. by Frank Kofsky. Published 1998 by Pathfinder in New York. History and criticism, African Americans, Jazz, Music, African American musicians. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Comments (4)
playboy
Co-author of Stepson of the Blues: A Chicago Song of Survival

I read Frank Kofsky's book Black Music, White Business, as a blues fan and a jazz novice, to see if some of the same economic and racial dynamics around blues music also affect jazz.

Kofsky's Marxist approach allows readers to track social causes of changes in the music. Since jazz's Black originators were second class citizens in America from the get-go, he defines jazz as a music of outsiders. And just like politics, Kofsky contends that music evolves in revolutionary spurts, growing within a framework for awhile and breaking loose into a new form.

For example, the Great Migration was a social condition that changed southern acoustic blues into an upbeat, cityfied electric form. In jazz, Kofsky argues that the post-World War II disillusionment of African Americans, who fought for democracy only to be denied it at home, helped bring about a change from swing to bebop. Kofsky mentions instances of John Coltrane and other jazz innovators actively protesting race discrimination.

Kofsky also asserts that the lack of jazz promotion in the 1960s and 70s was not a market based decision. Rather, he says, it reflected racial biases of White music executives, specifically at Columbia Records, bellwether of the industry. He questions John Hammond Sr.'s 1969 statement that a jazz album had to sell 15,000 units annually to make a profit. He also points out that corporate decisions to skimp on promotion made "jazz doesn't sell" a self fulfilling prophecy. (The same noises issue today from the industry: "blues doesn't sell.") No music will sell if you don't make an effort to sell it!

Even if Kofsky sometimes gets bogged down in self-conscious debates with other jazz critics, Black Music, White Business is an eye opener.
Mora
I had high recommendations for this one. It turned out to be a big disappointment. What comes across first and foremost is the author's bitterness. I was expecting a well researched and impartial book, but instead I had to go through pages of the author's personal problems with critics and music businessmen.
Furthermore, he has racist discourse, even if in a kind of Thomas Dunwitty way (see Spike Lee's "Bamboozled"). He insists that Jazz is black music, an attitude I would like to see discouraged for any music genre. I would be the last to try to diminish the importance of Ellingtons and Parkers and Minguses and Coltranes. But what to say of Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Stan Getz, Stephane Grappeli, Benny Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Joe Zawinul, etc? Did they NOT contribute with their own perspective to the music? And did they NOT suffer as much from the same people who were taking advantage of black artists?
And so the author fails to make his point. Had he made a more thorough research he would have found that record companies have never made much distinction about race or genre when it comes to making a dollar, in ANY music genre.
And what if he remembered to tell how many artists make a profit for a record company and how many flop? THAT would have put things in a different perspective. And if he spent any time talking about Oscar Peterson and Norman Granz's friendship (and many other inter-racial music businessman-artist ones)? And what to say of his criticism of record companies for spending more on classical music than on jazz recordings?
This book doesn't even give the reader an imaginative conspiracy theory. RUN FROM IT!
Isha
This book is a useful expose of how the music business scams and exploits all artists, not just Black artists. It is vitally important at a time when the Wynton Marsalis/Albert Murray school of Jazz history is trying to claim that Jazz is a "celebration" of American capitalism. Kofsky shows Jazz musicians have been and continue to be victims of capitalism! And as someone with a background in studying the history of country music and western swing, I can agree with another reviewer here that the same tales of exploitation can be told about white musicans as well.

Kofsky is most effective in the individual stories he tells in the separate articles in this book where as has already been pointed out he "names names." Kofsky unmasks a lot of people who have manufactured images that they were friends of the jazz musician like Blue Note Records.

One of his most interesting vignettes is his exposure of Vanderbuilt heir, self-praising liberal, and paternalist interferer with Jazz John Hammond. He exposes how Hammond's phoney story about Bessie Smith's death was part of the legend that helped net the already-wealthy Hammond scores of thousands of dollars, back when a dollar was a dollar, while Smith and her estate got zilch. Just the Bessie Smith story is worth the price of the book!

While this book is not always available on Amazon, it is always available from BooksfromPathfinder, an Amazon Z store that you can get to by clicking on New and Used further up this page!