The Humor of Jazz

Charles Hiroshi Garrett

in Jazz/Not Jazz

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271036
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951358 | DOI:
The Humor of Jazz

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The virtual absence of critical attention to jazz humor is striking—especially for a music that delights in improvisation, unexpected turns of phrase, and rhythmic play. This chapter examines how taking humor seriously offers jazz scholars a set of analytical tools that not only help to identify its musical pleasure and creative ingenuity but also serve to deepen our understanding of its musical, political, and historical dimensions. Incorporating insights from the philosophy of humor and the history of American humor helps us to understand canonical figures and humor-laden artists underserved by jazz discourse, including Sarah Vaughan, Slim Gaillard, Cab Calloway, Dorothy Donegan, and Horace Silver.

Keywords: jazz; humor; historiography; Sarah Vaughan; Slim Gaillard; Cab Calloway; Dorothy Donegan; Horace Silver

Chapter.  8613 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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