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Jazz/Not JazzThe Music and Its Boundaries$
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David Ake, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, and Daniel Goldmark

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520271036

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520271036.001.0001

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Jazz with Strings

Jazz with Strings

Between Jazz and the Great American Songbook

(p.111) CHAPTER 6 Jazz with Strings
Jazz/Not Jazz

John Howland

University of California Press

From roughly 1940 to 1945, a number of prominent big band leaders expanded their ensembles by adding strings and other orchestral instruments. Capitol Records stood at the forefront of this movement in the late 1940s and 1950s, releasing a variety of richly orchestrated, urbane, jazz-inflected recordings, including acclaimed releases by Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle. While the postwar period saw the decline of the traditional big band as a commercial force in popular culture, these jazz-pop ventures reinvented swing for the hi-fi era. Through close study of select arrangements, contemporary cultural discourse, and marketing and promotion, this essay articulates the larger aesthetic issues and cultural conditions that shaped the hybrid, middlebrow ideals of these jazz-with-strings subgenres.

Keywords:   jazz-with-strings, middlebrow, recordings, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, big band, jazz-pop, jazz

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