"Circular Breathing is quite simply the best book so far on jazz in Britain. George McKay acts as cultural archaeologist, digging up traces of a 90-year musical presence, and writing them back into history. He comments acutely on a music which can be peripheral and exclusive, but which he rightly sees as vital to the story of Britain's social and political evolution." Andrew Blake, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Winchester "Circular Breathing is a marvellous book. I admire George McKay's knowledge of jazz, the British left, and cultural history. His ability to blend those elements is to my knowledge unique and unprecedented, and his interviews with jazz musicians enrich the story that he is telling immeasurably."--Dennis Dworkin, author of Cultural Studies in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies " ... moving and stimulating ... McKay states that his goal has been "to refigure British jazz history to more comprehensively include its ideological assumptions and actions". He has succeeded ... "--The Wire, January 2006 "This is a book that has been waiting to be written for some time, namely a survey of aspects of postwar British jazz from the perspective of cultural politics. George McKay tackles head on the knotty question of why New Orleans revivalism, and laer the free improv movement, had such close links to the politics of the left. Woven through it is a fascinating web of observations about the reception of American culture, and the way in which it is simultaneously identified with freedom, and a new imperialism... [McKay] has trawled through an impressive amount of jazz literature and propounds some stimulating thoughts about why jazz has always been a counterculture in Britain."--Alyn Shipton, Jazzwise, March 2006 "The title could mean that the book is long-winded, but it is not! George McKay has assembled a vast amount of documentation to give us a history of Jazz in Britain... [A] fascinating book! Highly recommended."--Lawrence Brazier, Jazz Now "It is only by reading Circular Breathing, George McKay's skillful examination of race relations, gender issues, and the Left in relation to British jazz, that we can understand why British jazz wasn't at the center of the European free-jazz revolution... [V]aluable and imaginative scholarship."--Stephanie Hanson, Bookforum "McKay has written an excellent study of one of the many new cultures and cultural spaces of postwar England. His emphasis on space and culture, gender and space, and race and identity make this a strong work well worth the time to read... [H]is book places the playing and study of jazz music in clear class terms as few scholars have before him."--Gordon J. Marshall, Journal of British Studies
About the Author
George McKay is a professor of cultural studies at the University of Salford in England. He is the author of "Glastonbury: A Very English Fair" and "Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties"; the editor of "DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain"; and a coeditor of "Community Music: A Handbook "and "Social Movement Studies" " Journal of Social, Cultural, and Political Protest."