Jazz, 'race' and society in early apartheid South Africa
Price: R 255
Publication Date: 2012-11-16
ISBN: 978 1 86914 237 7
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Review by Nishlyn Ramanna
Transformation 84 (2014)
Being a part of this event is a big deal to me because Marabi Nights is not as Gwen Ansell describes the first edition of Christopher Ballantine’s book “one of a few seminal works in SA jazz history”. Rather, it is the seminal work in South African jazz studies.
Review by Jonathan T. King
Journal of Jazz Studies vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 91-94 (Summer 2014)
“Marabi Nights”: An Enlightening History Of Another Jazz
The question of just what the term ‘jazz’ comprises has been a contemporary and historical concern among musicians, fans, and historians, and the canonical American jazz tradition is often used as the sole or primary narrative. But jazz has had many international incarnations that complicate and enrich the story. The aesthetic roots of jazz in African cultural history have been emphasized in discussions of both American and international practice, to both enlightening and overly-reductive effects; but what of African traditions contemporary to the emergence of jazz? Christopher Ballantine's study of the emergence of a South African jazz tradition beginning in the 1920s, with roots in the 19th century and branches that reach through the 1950s – has given jazz fans, musicians, and scholars a culturally parallel genealogy to that of American Jazz.
This is an updated and substantially expanded second edition of Christopher Ballantine’s classic study of the triumphs and tragedies of South Africa’s marabi-jazz tradition.
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