Jazz And The Left
Via my brother (a grad student who recognizes the usefulness of Marxist analytical theory), comes this informative if somewhat wandering piece tracing the evolving relationship between jazz and the organized left in the United States by Louis Proyect. There is a much larger story here, but this survey of events from the 1930s through the 1960s provides an easily digestible introduction to the subject:
Fundamentally, major social changes in the United States have determined the evolution of jazz, just as they have in any other art form.I have more than a little trouble with the characterization of the blues as the "least corrupted and corruptible part of jazz" (authenticity is such a slippery thing), but since it's in a quote and only tangential to Proyect's point, I'll let it slide this time.
The 1930s were a period of the rise of jazz and the organized left. Concretely, this meant big bands and the Communist Party. Notwithstanding some early dogmatic opposition to jazz from cultural commissar Mike Gold, the party soon threw itself into proselytizing for jazz and fighting segregation in the music business.