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Les mots du jazz

Retour sur Le Jazz d’André Schaeffner & André Coeuroy
Olivier Roueff
p. 239-260


Words of Jazz: A Look Back on Le Jazz by André Schaeffner and André Coeuroy (1926). – Le Jazz by André Schaeffner and André Coeuroy (1926), the first learned analysis of jazz, signaled an important phase in the reinvention of this music in France, since, through the debates it sparked at the time, it helped change jazz’s identity from an “American” to a “Black American” music with African “roots”. Coeuroy and Schaeffner referred to sorts of music that jazz criticism would have throw out of its pantheon, but their analyses would form the major grids for interpreting jazz in France: the improvisation-personalized sound-“swing” threesome; and the relation between a “logic of essence” and a “logic of progress” through a kind of dialectical evolutionism (Black, African or Afro-American, vs. White, European; simple vs. complex; popular vs. learned). By analyzing this book and the reception given to it, we see how, throughout the history of jazz in France, other important authors adopted and adapted these grids.

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Bibliographical reference

Olivier Roueff, « Les mots du jazz », L’Homme, 158-159 | 2001, 239-260.

Electronic reference

Olivier Roueff, « Les mots du jazz », L’Homme [Online], 158-159 | avril-septembre 2001, Online since 25 May 2007, connection on 17 September 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/lhomme.111

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About the author

Olivier Roueff


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