Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star StateBook - 2007
Jazz is one of America's greatest gifts to the arts, and native Texas musicians have played a major role in the development of jazz from its birth in ragtime, blues, and boogie-woogie to its most contemporary manifestation in free jazz. Dave Oliphant began the fascinating story of Texans and jazz in his acclaimed book Texan Jazz, published in 1996. Continuing his riff on this intriguing musical theme, Oliphant uncovers in this new volume more of the prolific connections between Texas musicians and jazz.
Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State presents sixteen published and previously unpublished essays on Texans and jazz. Oliphant celebrates the contributions of such vital figures as Eddie Durham, Kenny Dorham, Leo Wright, and Ornette Coleman. He also takes a fuller look at Western Swing through Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies and a review of Duncan McLean's Lone Star Swing. In addition, he traces the relationship between British jazz criticism and Texas jazz and defends the reputation of Texas folklorist Alan Lomax as the first biographer of legendary jazz pianist-composer Jelly Roll Morton. In other essays, Oliphant examines the links between jazz and literature, including fiction and poetry by Texas writers, and reveals the seemingly unlikely connection between Texas and Wisconsin in jazz annals. All the essays in this book underscore the important parts played by Texas musicians in jazz history and the significance of Texas to jazz, as also demonstrated by Oliphant's reviews of the Ken Burns PBS series on jazz and Alfred Appel Jr.'s Jazz Modernism.