Jazz on the border
jazz and dance bands in Chester and North Wales in the mid-twentieth century
Keywords:dance music, hidden history, jazz history, jazz in Britain, music business, popular music
There was a high degree of overlap between western popular music and jazz in the mid-twentieth century. However, histories of jazz and histories of popular music are often puzzlingly separate, as if divided by strict borders. This article looks at some of the reasons for this (including those proposed by Frith (2007) and Bennett (2013). The importance of musical pathways and hidden histories (Becker 2002, 2004; Finnegan 2007; Nott 2002; Rogers 2013) in the context of local music scenes is considered. The importance of taking live music scenes and provincial areas into account when discussing genre histories is discussed, in the context of examples from an oral history study of dance-band musicians and promoters in the Chester (UK) area. These examples help to demonstrate that boundaries between jazz and popular music are frequently less abrupt in practice than they are in theory.
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