In Circular Breathing, George McKay, a leading chronicler of British countercultures, uncovers the often surprising ways that jazz has accompanied social change during a period of rapid transformation in Great Britain. Examining jazz from the founding of George Webb's Dixielanders in 1943 through the burgeoning British bebop scene of the early 1950s, the Beaulieu Jazz Festivals of 1956-61, and the improvisational music-making of the 1960s and 1970s, McKay reveals the connections of the music, its players, and its subcultures to black and anti-racist activism, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, feminism, and the New Left. In the process, he provides the first detailed cultural history of jazz in Britain. McKay explores the music in relation to issues of whiteness, blackness, and masculinity--all against a backdrop of shifting imperial identities, post-colonialism, and the Cold War. He considers objections to the music's spread by the "anti-jazzers" alongside the ambivalence felt by many leftist musicians about playing an "all-American" musical form. At the same time, McKay highlights the extraordinary cultural mixing that has defined British jazz since the 1950s, as musicians from Britain's former colonies--particularly from the Caribbean and South Africa--have transformed the genre. Circular Breathing is enriched by McKay's original interviews with activists, musicians, and fans and by fascinating images, including works by the renowned English jazz photographer Val Wilmer. It is an invaluable look not only at the history of jazz but also the Left and race relations in Great Britain. George McKay is 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 co-editor of Community Music: A Handbook and Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural, and Political Protest.
George McKay is a writer on alternative cultures, popular music/media, cultural politics, disability. From jazz to punk. Via gardening. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960 though mostly raised in Norfolk, England. He is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford, UK, and currently a Leadership Fellow for the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
George's website is packed with information and links: http://georgemckay.org
His newest book (2013) is Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability (University of Michigan Press). It was supported by a grant from the AHRC. George has compiled a fascinating Top Ten of disability pop songs connected with the book at http://georgemckay.org/shakin-all-over/top-ten
His 2011 book about the politics of gardens--from peace gardens to community gardens, public parks as spaces of political protest to allotments--called Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the Garden (Frances Lincoln) was a Book of the Year (Independent on Sunday), 'a truly important book' (Times Higher Education), 'highly original and compelling' (Daily Telegraph).
Contact George at: firstname.lastname@example.org