There are over a million jazz recordings, but only a few hundred tunes have been recorded repeatedly. Why did a minority of songs become jazz standards? Why do some songs--and not others--get rerecorded by many musicians? Shaping Jazz answers this question and more, exploring the underappreciated yet crucial roles played by initial production and markets--in particular, organizations and geography--in the development of early twentieth-century jazz.
Damon Phillips considers why places like New York played more important roles as engines of diffusion than as the sources of standards. He demonstrates why and when certain geographical references in tune and group titles were considered more desirable. He also explains why a place like Berlin, which produced jazz abundantly from the 1920s to early 1930s, is now on jazz's historical sidelines. Phillips shows the key influences of firms in the recording industry, including how record companies and their executives affected what music was recorded, and why major companies would rerelease recordings under artistic pseudonyms. He indicates how a recording's appeal was related to the narrative around its creation, and how the identities of its firm and musicians influenced the tune's long-run popularity.
Applying fascinating ideas about market emergence to a music's commercialization, Shaping Jazz offers a unique look at the origins of a groundbreaking art form.
Damon J. Phillips is the James P. Gorman Professor of Business Strategy at Columbia University and a faculty affiliate of Columbia's Center for Jazz Studies and the Center for Organizational Innovation.
"The thesis of this multilayered, impressive scholarly study is that jazz is shaped by the processing of the recorded product from its geographical region, its reception and active participant audience, social structure, and its marketing and diffusion. . . . The multiple graphs and charts serve as important sources for understanding the global aspects and diffusion of this innovative musical form."--Choice
"Shaping Jazz combines a deep love for the music, a comprehensive historical understanding of what happened across two continents as it developed, and an inventive use of sociological ideas and tools, to shape a wonderful contribution to the story of jazz."--Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds
"While there is abundant research on the innovation advantages of networks that bridge disconnections in organizations and markets, this book finally explains how the disconnections themselves are significant for innovation to take hold and emerge in the form it does. Phillips shows that network disconnections were key to the congruence between the product and market responsible for the evolution of jazz. The book is productive in theory and engaging--even magical--in substance."--Ronald S. Burt, University of Chicago
"Offering a different approach to jazz history, Damon Phillips uses statistical data to ask questions, and ultimately find answers, about the music. Many of his arguments about the disconnectedness of jazz scenes, about marketing strategies, and about the highbrow and lowbrow perceptions of jazz intertwine and lead to even more questions. His book's approach can teach a lot about the use of empirical data for any period in jazz history."--Wolfram Knauer, director of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Table of Contents:
Introduction - Sociological Congruence and the Shaping of Recorded Jazz 1
Chapter 1 The Puzzle of Geographical Disconnectedness 13
Chapter 2 Further Exploring the Salience of Geography 40
Chapter 3 Sociological Congruence and the Puzzle of Early German Jazz 53
Chapter 4 Sociological Congruence and Record Company Comparative Advantage 77
Chapter 5 The Sociological Congruence of Record Company Deception 103
Chapter 6 The Sociological Congruence of Identity Sequences and Adoption Narratives 120
Chapter 7 Pulling It Together and Stretching It Beyond 137