Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
I would write a paper to directly correspond to Feather himself who has info all over the Internet. His 50-60s history was never especially cutting edge. He was even dismissive of some of the bebop music continuing to record instead Ellington, Louis Armstrong and others like it was still the late 1930s. In fact it could be said that he sided with a counter movement of jazz critics who thought the bebop guys weren't really playing jazz and that jazz ended with swing. Especially telling is Feathers all time top ten who include mostly older guys, although some like the incredible pianist Art Tatum deserve every bit of recognition they can get. He was off and on with Miles Davis who hated his guts, never got Coltrane or Ornette Coleman and would take Buddy Rich and Jo Jones over Tony Williams any day (his opinions). There just wasn't any changing this guy's view once it was already there. And he would state his opinions forcefully and didn't care what anyone thought. Personally I agree with about 35% of his overall jazz view, although the guys he really likes were great iconic musicians.
IMO I would write the paper following Feather's own path during that time. This includes his production relationships with Ella Fitzgerald (see Norman Granz) his blues compositions and strong professional relationship with Dinah Washington and the other collaborations with Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn. His favorite player of that era was probably still the saxophonist Lester Young, although most of his best work had been in the late 1930s with Count Basie. He was confused by Dave Brubeck although he loved Desmond and he followed Duke Ellington to the end.... and wrote liner notes for several of Buddy Rich's albums including Mercy Mercy. He loved the Pacific Jazz Rich band.
A key year in your paper would be 1959. Holiday and Young both died that year, and he made his peace with Miles when Kind of Blue came out although Miles still wanted him to die. This was also when he sent his very famous History of Jazz to the publishers.
Yeah follow Feather's path during this period and your paper will be the cool one in the class. Everybody else will Wiki hard bop like mad and none of that had much to do with Feather.
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