David Hajdu
September 20, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Jammin' at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Krin Gabbard
genre
Music, Pop Culture, Movies

We gave it an A

You don’t have to accept Krin Gabbard’s theories about moviegoing and castration anxiety to get a brain thrill out of this nervy work of pop-culture scholarship. But it wouldn’t hurt. Arguably the two richest — and most overanalyzed — forms of entertainment in the American century, jazz and the movies have mingled, inspired each other, and clashed since Al Jolson made the very first talkie. Jammin’ at the Margins: Jazz and the American Cinema, the only critical history of this tense aesthetic union, manages to cast light on everything from Louis Armstrong’s apparent Uncle Tomism to Martin Scorsese’s schizoid revisionism. Overanalysis is rarely done with such cocksure glee. A

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