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Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain by [McKay, George]
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Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 377 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"[E]ssential to "Solidarity" readers interested in music. . . ."
--Workers' Liberty

"This well-written, witty, and highly original book addresses topics not previously given much thought in print."
--Lewis Porter, "The International History Review"

," . . [M]oving 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 . . ."
--Julian Cowley," The Wire"

"As a British cultural historian. . ., George McKay is the real deal: the book demonstrates the remarkable reach and relevance of this school of criticism. . . . [T]his book becomes massive in its scope."
--Richard C. Taylor, "Altar Magazine"

"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"

"This is a book that has been waiting to be written for some time. . . . [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"

"McKay manifests that crucial characteristic associated with the best research, a readiness to be surprised and puzzled at what he discovers. . . . The larger value of his study is . . . the incisive analysis of the way context creates the meaning and function of text."
--Bruce Johnson, "Arena Journal"

""Circular Breathing" is painstakingly well documented with copious references, including a myriad of personal interviews with activists, musicians, and fans. Through this long journey, many fascinating stories and unexpected facts are revealed, while a host of questions, contradictions, and paradoxes are explored."
--Robert Rawlins, "Notes"

""Circular Breathing" is quite simply the best book so far on jazz in Britain. George McKay acts as a cultural archaeologist, digging up traces of a ninety-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, author of "The Land without Music: Music, Culture, and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain"

"George McKay's book plugs a significant scholarly gap and provides a much-needed cultural history of jazz in Britain. . . . This book is a hugely impressive, detailed, and fascinating cultural history of jazz in Britain and should be recommended not only to cultural historians but also to historians of the Cold War, the British Left, and those interested in race relations and national identity in twentieth-century Britain."--James J. Nott, "American Historical Review"

"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"

"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"

From the Back Cover

""Circular Breathing" is a marvelous 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 immeasurably the story that he is telling."--Dennis Dworkin, author of "Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2308 KB
  • Print Length: 377 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0822335735
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (2 Nov. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,436,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 July 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George McKay's excellent study is both a valuable and very readable dissection of the political history of Jazz in Britain, shedding light on aspects of the culture and music that have rarely been discussed to this depth in most of the literature on the subject.

A lot of ground is covered here; though McKay touches on the early days of the music's arrival and effects on the British music (and dance) scene, his study chiefly begins in the post-war period with the counter-cultures of the Trad movement and the rival modernists - but this is no "mouldy figs/dirty be-boppers" narrative; his highly detailed study considers - across five chaptered sections - a multi-faceted range of broad political issues such as protest, race, colour, gender, leftist politics, and the idea of "Britishness" in an essentially imported music, further formed by the strong and vibrant input of Commonwealth and "black Atlantic" musicians and influences.
I was particularly fascinated by the chapter on the free improvisation movement of the 60s and 70s, a formative period and influence for me personally.

McKay is a professor of cultural studies, so there is a certain level of formal language and referenced footnotes, but don't be put off - this is an engaging and wholly engrossing volume, highly recommended to anyone with a serious interest in this rich and diverse area of music.
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