Jazz, Italian Style - A Review in Italian American

This comprehensive collection profiles the "steady flow" of Italian Americans who contributed to the evolution of Jazz. Big names like Louis Prima, Eddie Lang, Louie Bellson, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett are paired with lesser known, but highly influential artists like Nick LaRocca, Sam Butera, Leon Roppolo, and Joe Venuti.

More so than simply recounting past jazz artists, this book will take you on the journey of jazz, a journey that was more than just music—it was a reflection of culture and society. You'll learn how Italian Americans used music to upend stereotypes of being "unsophisticated," how they viewed music as a way out for their children, and how they influenced music in New Orleans.

Perhaps the most interesting and rewarding aspect of this collection is the insight it gives on how, due to their similar circumstances, Italian Americans and African Americans bonded. You'll hear stories of Italian mothers cooking for Louie Armstrong and Italian-American musicians sharing the stage with Duke Ellington, and learn about the incident Tony Bennett saw an African-American friend experience that "profoundly shaped his life."

As you travel through the notes of this book, you will gain appreciation for the role music played in leading Italian Americans to break segregation while laws were still in place. You will also find yourself listening to a jazz record or two.

The first jazz record ever produced, entitled "Livery Stable Blues," was released by Nick LaRocca and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917 and sold more than one million copies.

Miles Ryan Fisher
Editor-in-Chief, Italian American magazine,
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