Chapter

Jazz with Strings

John Howland

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520271036.003.0007
Jazz with Strings

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From roughly 1940 to 1945, a number of prominent big band leaders expanded their ensembles by adding strings and other orchestral instruments. Capitol Records stood at the forefront of this movement in the late 1940s and 1950s, releasing a variety of richly orchestrated, urbane, jazz-inflected recordings, including acclaimed releases by Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle. While the postwar period saw the decline of the traditional big band as a commercial force in popular culture, these jazz-pop ventures reinvented swing for the hi-fi era. Through close study of select arrangements, contemporary cultural discourse, and marketing and promotion, this essay articulates the larger aesthetic issues and cultural conditions that shaped the hybrid, middlebrow ideals of these jazz-with-strings subgenres.

Keywords: jazz-with-strings; middlebrow; recordings; Frank Sinatra; Nelson Riddle; big band; jazz-pop; jazz

Chapter.  11408 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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