John Howland

Ellington Uptown: Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and the Birth of Concert Jazz

Ellington Uptown: Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and the Birth of Concert Jazz is the story of the African-American contributions to the symphonic jazz vogue of the 1920s through the 1940s. Through a close examination of the music of Duke Ellington and James P. Johnson, Ellington Uptown uncovers compositions that have fallen in the cracks between concert music, jazz, and popular music. It also places the concert works of these two iconic figures in context through an investigation both of related compositions by black and white peers and of symphonic jazz-style arrangements. Ellington Uptown explores a diverse number of early sound films, Broadway musicals, Harlem nightclub floor shows, and select interwar radio programs. Professor Howland also is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Jazz Perspectives, an interdisciplinary jazz studies journal published by Routledge Press.

Review in All About Jazz, August 2009