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South End Shout: Boston’s Forgotten Music Scene in the Jazz Age details the power of music in the city’s African American community, spotlighting the era of ragtime culture in the early 1900s to the rise of big band orchestras in the 1930s. This story is deeply embedded in the larger social condition of Black Bostonians and the account is brought to life by the addition of 20 illustrations of musicians, theaters, dance halls, phonographs, and radios used to enjoy the music.
South End Shout is part of an emerging field of studies that examines jazz culture outside of the major centers of music production. In extensive detail, author Roger R. House covers the activities of jazz musicians, jazz bands, the places they played, the relationships between Black and white musicians, the segregated local branches of the American Federation of Musicians (AFL-CIO), and the economics of Boston’s music industry. Readers will be captivated by the inclusion of vintage local newspaper reports, classified advertisements, and details of hard-to-access oral history accounts by musicians and residents. These precious documentary materials help to understand how jazz culture evolved as a Boston art form and contributed to the national art form between the world wars.
With this book, House makes an important contribution to American studies and jazz history. Scholars and general readers alike who are interested in jazz and jazz culture, the history of Boston and its Black culture, and 20th century American and urban studies will be enlightened and delighted by this book.
About the Author
Roger House is associate professor of American studies at Emerson College, Boston, and author of Blue Smoke: The Recorded Journey of Big Bill Broonzy (Louisiana State University Press 2010). His commentary articles on African American politics and cultural history have appeared in TheHill and The Daily Beast, among others. He has produced historical programs for National Public Radio and was a staff writer for The Providence Journal. House received a bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University and a masters’ and doctorate degrees in American and New England studies from Boston University. To learn more about his research on Boston during the jazz age see his website, www.southendshout.com.
"South End Shout: Boston’s Forgotten Music Scene in the Jazz Age is a truly rare example of a well-researched work of first-rate scholarship that is also a great read. Roger R. House, on the faculty of Boston’s Emerson College, pursues this material with the insider’s fervor of a thorough musical detective, and he is at the same time an engaging storyteller. This book chronicles a story long forgotten or perhaps completely unknown to the great majority of current musicians and Bostonians, that of the rise of pre-jazz and jazz in Boston in the African-American neighborhoods around Boston’s Frederick Douglass Square (now the Douglass Historic District)." — David Demsey