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Shaping Jazz:
Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form
Damon J. Phillips

Finalist for the 2014 George R. Terry Book Award, Academy of Management

Hardcover | 2013 | $39.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691150888
232 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 6 halftones. 17 line illus. 14 tables.
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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.


"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

"One of the most enjoyable things about this book is that it demonstrates the importance and historically contingent nature of social categories. . . . Other people who study product and organizational categories would do well to emulate his concern for concrete phenomena. . . . His sensitivity to time and place are critical to the insights he draws from his research, insights that have wide applicability outside the early jazz recording industry."--Heather A. Haveman, Administrative Science Quarterly

"The entire book rewards the reading, both for what it tells us substantively about a major art form and what it tells us theoretically about processes of legitimation, diffusion, and canonization."--Gabriel Rossman, American Journal of Sociology

"The author should be commended on the depth and scope of the work. . . . In summary, Phillips sheds considerable light on the formation of jazz, its dissemination, its institutions, musicians and geography, and does so with a variety of analysis tools and unique historical data."--Journal of Economic Literature


"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

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Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
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
Appendix 159
Notes 169
References 187
Index 203

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    File created: 9/7/2017

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