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Gallo1

ChristianGallo
English580
Dr.Martin
June29,2016

TheBigBeat:TheRoleofJazzandImprovisationinModernLiterature
Introduction
Allculturesdirectlyshapeandaffectallthought,artandliterature,andthose,inturn,
becomethevoicefortheparticulartimeandplaceinwhichtheyexist.Americancreativeoutput
duringtheerabetween1925and1960reflectedthecultureofthetime.Thewritersandtheir
workduringtheHarlemRenaissance,forexample,weredirectlyaffectedbynotonlyother
artistsofthetimesuchasthejazzmusiciansandpaintersoftheera,butalsobythepoliticaland
societalenvironmentofAmericaduringthe1920s.WritersofthePuritanerasuchasAnne
BradstreetorEdwardTaylor,neverwouldhavewritteninthestyleorsubjectmatterforwhich
theyareknownwereitnotforthecultureofwhichtheywereapart.Thesamecanbesaidof
WaltWhitman,ErnestHemingway,EmilyDickinson,NathanielWest,AllenGinsbergand
WilliamFaulkner.Productsoftheirtime,allreflectedtheirowncultureintheirworkinvery
distinctanduniqueways.
Thispaperwillfocusexclusivelyontheeffectthatjazzmusichadontheliteratureduring
theHarlemRenaissanceofthe1920s,aswellaswiththepostmodernliterarymovementofthe
late1940sandthe1950s.Ofparticularfocuswillbetherolejazzplayedinthewritingsof
LangstonHughesduringtheHarlemRenaissance,andtheroleofjazzinJamesBaldwins

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SonnysBlues.Alsodiscussedwillbetherelationshipofjazz,inparticularbebop,tothe
writersoftheBeatGeneration,includingAllenGinsbergandJackKerouac.
Musichasplayedaroleinothererasandstylesofliterature.Forexample,WillaCather
usedmusicinmanyofhernovelsandshortstories.Cathersmusicalpreferencesincludedopera
andsymphonicworks.ShewasespeciallyfondofWagnerianoperasthatprovidedmetaphorsin
hershortstories.Cathersuseofmusicinherfictionemphasizesherbeliefthatartistic
expressionandachievementdemandintenseandfocuseddedicationtothecraft(Meyer24).
Cather,amusicreviewerintheearlystagesofhercareerwasfascinatedwithnotonlythemusic,
butwiththepeoplewhowroteandperformeditaswell.Throughmusic,shesituatesher
charactersinaparticulartime,connectingthemtoworldsapartfromtheirown.Inhershort
story,PaulsCase,PaulworksasanusheratCarnegieHallwherehecanescapeintotheworld
ofartandmusic.Cather,likeotherwritersusedmusicasatool.Thistool,likejazzsuseduring
theHarlemRenaissance,servedanelementalroleinlargerstories(Meyer27).UnlikeCathers
useofclassicalmusicasstorycontent,theuseofjazzpenetrateddeeper,andbecamemoreofa
culturalelementaffectingmanyaspectsofeverydaylifeandart.
Forthefirsthalfofthetwentiethcentury,jazzwasthedominantformofpopulardance
musicintheUnitedStates.Theelementofimprovisationattractedmusicianstojazz.Musicians
injazzbandswerefree,andwereencouragedtoimprovise,adrasticchangefromtherigidityof
theragtimeanddancebandsthatpredatejazzintheearlytwentiethcentury(Early).
Ofthemanydifferentingredientsthatenhancedthecreationofjazz,themostimportant
wastheblues.Bluesprovidedthestructureuponwhichalljazz,andarguablyallformsof
Americanmusictofollow,wasbased.Likeliterature,somestructuredformsandconventions,

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suchasgrammarandpunctuationforexample,mustbefollowed.Astheformdevelops,
however,roomforimprovisationandevolutionfollows.

Jazzinthemodernandpostmodernerawasmorethanjustmusicjazzwasacultural
movementthathadgreatinfluenceontheyouthinregarddress,language,andattitude.Itforced
peopletoquestionideasaboutwhatwasappropriateinsocietyandwhatwasnormal.The
mainstream,fearingtheeffectitwouldhaveontheyoung,dislikedjazzbecauseofits
associationtosex,interracialrelationshipsanddrugs.GeraldEarly,inaninterviewfortheKen
BurnsdocumentaryJazz,claimsthatmainstream,whitesocietyofthetimewasfearfulthatjazz
wouldbringaboutaniggerizationofsociety.Thisnewstepawayfromtraditiongavepeople
theopportunitytoexperiencenewformsofselfexpression.Thisnaturallycarriedoverinto
literatureandotherartformsaswell.ManyartistslikeJacksonPollackandAaronDouglass
believedthatjazzssenseofspontaneity,itsdissonanceandantiestablishmentattitudeembodied
compellingaspectsofmodernismandpostmodernism(Early).
Anotherimportantaspectofjazzthatrelatestotheliteratureofthemodernand
postmoderneraisthatofbeinganoutsidertothemainstream.Thethemeofbeinganoutsider
runsthroughthestoriesbywritersfromtheseeras.AuthorsErnestHemingway,NathanielWest,
ZoraNealeHurston,LangstonHughes,WilliamFaulkner,JamesBaldwin,JackKerouac,
WilliamBurroughs,AllenGinsbergandothersalldirectlyorindirectlydealtwiththethemesof
outsidersandfringeelementsofsociety.Jazz,beforeithitmasspopappealinthelatethirties
andfortieswithswing,andbeforeitevolvedintobebop,wasanoutsider'smusic.Alongwith
blues,itwasconsideredthedevilsmusicbymanymiddleclass,educatedblacks.Themusicwas
playedindives,dancehallsandbeerjoints.Calledgutbucketmusicbythemainstream,itwas

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viewedasamusicthatdisfiguredtheblackcommunitywiththevicesthataccompaniedthenight
life(Early).Theinfluenceofjazzonwritersandliteratureinthefirsthalfofthetwentieth
centuryisgreatandtherearemanysimilaritiesbetweenjazz,jazzcultureandtheliteratureand
culturefromwhichitemerged.
Allofjazzisformedaroundtheconceptoftheblues.Theharmonicpatternsunderneath
themelodyareallbasedonbluesprogressions.Themusicalscalesthatarecommonlyusedin
jazzarecommonlyminorpentatonicscalesthatemploytheuseofaflattedthirdnote,theblue
noteinthescale.Jazzwouldnotexistwithoutthebluesandthebluesisavitalcomponenttojazz
music.
JazzPoetryoftheHarlemRenaissance
LangstonHughes,ClaudeMckayandJamesWeldonJohnsonwrotepoetrythatreflected
theAfricanAmericanexperienceinAmericaduringthe1920s,andjazzwasanessentialpartof
thatexperience.TheseHarlemRenaissancepoetseachcontributedtotheeraintheirownunique
style.LangstonHugheswasneverfarfromjazz.Hewenttonightclubstolisten,hereadhis
poetrywithjazzaccompanimentandwasavocalproponentofracialconsciousness.Hughes
consideredjazzandthebluesAfricanAmericanartformsandbelievedthatforblackstohavea
respectableculturetheyneededtocreateartatahigh,sophisticatedlevelthatrejoicedinblack
heritageandcreativity.Ratherthanwishawaydailyhardship,thebluesandjazzelevatedthe
everydaytroublesoftheblackAmericanintoart(Gross).Inhis1926storyTheNegroArtistand
theRacialMountain,LangstonHugheswrites,
ButjazztomeisoneoftheinherentexpressionsofNegrolifeinAmericathe
eternaltomtombeatingintheNegrosoulthetomtomofrevoltagainst

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wearinessinawhiteworld,aworldofsubwaytrains,andwork,work,workthe
tomtomofjoyandlaughter,andpainswallowedinasmile(qtd.inGross)
Hughesloveforjazzfounditswayintohiswritingsearlyon,andeventuallythisturned
intoagenreofpoetryknowntodayasjazzpoetry.Hebelievedthatlikejazz,poetrycould
becomeauniquelyAfricanAmericanartforminaliteraryworldthatuntiltheHarlem
Renaissancehadbeenapredominatelywhiteartform.Hughesincorporatedimageryand
phrasingintohispoetrythathadthefeelofimprovisedlinesheoftenincorporatedsyncopations
ofrhythminhisphrasingandusedslangtermscommoninthejazzcommunity(Gross).Hughes
alsowrotepoetrythatmadecriticalstatementsinregardtoraceorclass.Jazzmusicisa
statementregardingraceandclass,anditclaimsjazzasaunique,complexartformthatwas
borninthepoorneighborhoodsofNewOrleans.Jazzpoetrydoesthesame.TheLangston
Hughespoem,TheBalladoftheLandlordspeaksaboutissueshavingtodowithraceand
class.Itisalsostructuredlikeabluessong,meaningthefourlinestanzaswouldfitintothe
structureofastandardtwelvebarbluespattern.Theendofthepoemchangesfromthisstructure
intoaformthatshowsimprovisationawayfromthetheme(astandardformatthatjazzoften
takes).FollowingisanexcerptfromHughespoem,
What?Yougonnagetevictionorders?
Yougonnacutoffmyheat?
Yougonnatakemyfurnitureand
Throwitinthestreet?

Umhuh!Youtalkinghighandmighty.
Talkontillyougetthrough.
Youain'tgonnabeabletosayaword
IfIlandmyfistonyou.

Police!Police!

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Comeandgetthisman!
He'stryingtoruinthegovernment
Andoverturntheland!

Copper'swhistle!
Patrolbell!
Arrest.
PrecinctStation.
Ironcell.
Headlinesinpress:
MANTHREATENSLANDLORD
TENANTHELDNOBAIL
JUDGEGIVESNEGRO90DAYSINCOUNTYJAIL!

ClaudeMckayalsowrotepoetrythathadthefeelofjazzsimilartoHughes,alsotaking
onissuesofrace,classandgender.ClaudeMckayspoemTheHarlemDancerpaintsapicture
ofHarlem,withadancer,performingtowhatcanbeassumedajazzband,
APPLAUDINGyouthslaughedwithyoungprostitutes

Andwatchedherperfect,halfclothedbodysway
Hervoicewaslikethesoundofblendedflutes

Blownbyblackplayersuponapicnicday.
Shesanganddancedongracefullyandcalm,

Thelightgauzehanginglooseaboutherform

Tomesheseemedaproudlyswayingpalm
Grownlovelierforpassingthroughastorm.
Uponherswarthyneckblack,shinycurls

Profuselyfelland,tossingcoinsinpraise,

Thewineflushed,boldeyedboys,andeventhegirls,
Devouredherwiththeireager,passionategaze
But,lookingatherfalselysmilingface
Iknewherselfwasnotinthatstrangeplace.

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PoetslikeLangstonHughesandClaudeMcKay,havetheabilitytocombineart,poetry
andmusic.ThewritersoftheHarlemRenaissancewereabletodothisusingtheartoflanguage.
Theabilitytomarrythedifferentgenrestogetherintoliteratureandpoetryiswhatmakespoets
likeHughesandMcKaystandoutfromtheircontemporariesoftheera.LangstonHughesessay
titledJazzasCommunication,illustrateshowjazzseepsintoliteratureandshowstheinfluence
ithasonhimasawriter,
Jazzseepsintowordsspelledoutwords.NelsonAlgrenisinfluencedbyjazz.
RalphEllisonis,too.Sartre,too.JacquesPrvert.Mostofthebestwriterstoday
are.Itwasfiftyyearsago,thefirsttimeIheardtheBluesonIndependence
AvenueinKansasCity.ThenStateStreetinChicago.ThenHarleminthe
twentieswithJ.P.andJ.C.JohnsonandFatsandWillietheLionandNappy
playingpianowiththeBluesrunningallupanddownthekeyboardthroughthe
ragtimeandthejazz.Houserentpartycards(Hughes).
Itwasduringthistimethathewroteoneofhisbest,wellknownjazzpoems,TheWeary
Blues,apoemthatputsthereaderdirectlyintothescenewiththemusicandtheblackpiano
playersingingtheBlues.Thispoemalsohasthesoundofthebluesandonecanimaginethe
imageunfoldingwiththesoundandmovementofthemusic(Robinson).Thefollowingisan
excerptfromTheWearyBlues,
Droningadrowsysyncopatedtune,
Rockingbackandforthtoamellowcroon,
IheardaNegroplay.
DownonLenoxAvenuetheothernight
Bythepaledullpallorofanoldgaslight
Hedidalazysway....

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Hedidalazysway....
TothetuneothoseWearyBlues.
Withhisebonyhandsoneachivorykey
Hemadethatpoorpianomoanwithmelody.
OBlues!
Swayingtoandfroonhisricketystool
Heplayedthatsadraggytunelikeamusicalfool.
SweetBlues(HughesWearyBlues)!
SonnysBlues
JamesBaldwinsstory,SonnysBlues,isbasedaroundjazzandinparticular,aformof
jazzthatdevelopedinthe1940sandflourishedthroughthe1950s:bebop.Bebopwasan
evolutioninjazzthatmovedawayfromthepopularbigbandswingmusicofthe1930sand
1940s.Bebopwasartmusicratherthanthepopularentertainmentofthecommercial
mainstream.Itwasplayedinsmallercombosandreliedoncomplexchordchangesandmelodies
thatrequiredvirtuosicskillonaninstrument.Bebopalsoreliedalmostcompletelyupontheartof
improvisation.Alljazzrequiresimprovisation,butbeboptakesthisaesthetictoanotherlevelnot
foundinjazzuntilthispoint.Itwasnotdancemusic,itwasforthemostpart,noncommercial
music,forlisteninginsmallclubs.MusiciansattheforefrontoftheBebopmovementsuchas
DizzyGillespie,CharlieParkerandTheloniousMonkcomposedthemusicoftheBeat
GenerationanditisthisstyleofjazzthatisessentialtoJamesBaldwinsstory.
SonnysBlues,notonlyusesjazzasacentralcomponenttothestory,italsousesjazzasa
metaphorforSonnysrelationshipswithhisbrother,withhisfamily,withsocietyandwith
drugs.TakingplaceinHarleminthemid1950s,thestoryrevolvesaroundtheunnamednarrator
andhisbrother,Sonny.ThenarratorisafamilymanwhoteachesalgebraataschoolinHarlem.

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HisbrotherSonnyisajazzmusicianandaheroinaddict.Notcoincidentallytothestory,heroin
useamongbebopmusicianswasrampantandmanylives,includingCharlieParkerswere
destroyedbecauseofheroinaddiction.Sonnyhasbeenarrestedinaheroinbustandisinjail.
ThroughaseriesofflashbackswelearnthatthebrothersservedintheKoreanWar,thatthe
narrator'sdaughterdiedofpolioandthattheirfatherdied.Sonnywas,andis,addictedtoheroin
andpracticesfeverishlyatthepianoinordertobecomeajazzmusician.
Jazztakesacentralplaceinthestoryisvariousways.Thenarratorbecomesveryuneasy
whenhehearsofhisbrothersearlydesiretoplayjazz,
Isimplycouldn'tseewhyonearthhe'dwanttospendhistimehangingaround
nightclubs,clowningaroundonbandstands,whilepeoplepushedeachother
aroundadancefloor.Itseemedbeneathhim,somehow.Ihadneverthoughtabout
itbefore,hadneverbeenforcedto,butIsupposeIhadalwaysputjazzmusicians
inaclasswithwhatDaddycalled"goodtimepeople"(qtd.inSherard699).
Bebopwasverydivisiveinthejazzworldasitsoughttoseparatetheyounggenerationof
playersfromtheoldfashionedstyleofjazzmusicianslikeLouisArmstrong.Inhisbook
Baldwin,BebopandSonnysBlues,PanchoSaverystatesthatbebopisassignificanttojazzas
wastheHarlemRenaissance,andthatitwas"toalargeextentarevoltagainstswingandtheway
AfricanAmericanmusichadbeentakenover,anddiluted,bywhites(qtd.inSherard699).
WithwhitemusicianslikePaulWhitemanandBennyGoodmanbeingnamedTheKingof
JazzandTheKingofSwing,therewasresentmentintheyoung,blackcommunityofHarlem
thatjazzhadbeenappropriatedbythewhitemainstream.Thenarrator,tryingtofindacommon
groundwithhisbrother,usesLouisArmstrongandCharlieParkerinconversation.Inan

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examplethatdemonstratesfurthertheseparationbetweenSonnyandhisbrother,butalsoSonny
andmainstreamculture,Sonny,regardingLouisArmstrongstatesthatheprefersCharlieParker
toArmstrong'soldtime,downhomecrap(Sherard699).RichardAlbert,inhisbookThe
JazzBluesMotifinJamesBaldwinsSonnysBluesstatesthatthiscarries"astrongUncleTom
implication,"since"Armstrongwasviewedthiswaybymanyoftheyoungblackmusiciansin
the1940sand1950s.HadArmstrongbecome'thewhiteman'snigger?'(qtd.inSherard699)
BaldwinusesmanyjazzanalogieslikethisinhisstorytodrivehomethefactthatSonnyis
clearlypartofanoutlierculturethatwasnotviewedinapositivelightbythemainstream.Bebop
duringthiserawasridiculedasbeingundanceablejazz,playedbydrugaddictsinoutoftheway
clubs.ThemusicianswereopenlyridiculedbythelikeofoldguardmusicianslikeLouis
Armstrongwhowasbythistimeamainstreampopfigurethatwasbelovedbybothwhitesand
blacks.SonnyslifeisbeginningtomimicthelifestyleofCharlieParkerandthebebopcultureof
whichheisapart.
ThestorycomestoaconclusionwhenthenarratorgoestoaclubinGreenwichVillageto
hearSonnyperform.Peopleintheclubarefriendlytohimoncetheyfindoutwhoheis,anditis
instantlyapparentthatheisnowinSonny'sworld,or,rather:hiskingdom.Here,itwasnot
evenaquestionthathisveinsboreroyalblood"(Baldwin145).JazzgivesSonnyasenseof
belonging,asenseofpurposeinworldwherehemightotherwisebelost.Hesunabletofunction
inthemainstreamworld,droppingoutofschool,andcannotholddownarealjob.Here,inthe
jazzclubwithhisbandandadmirersandhangersoninthescene,heisathome.
Whileintheclub,thenarratormeetsthemanwhoseemstobethebandleader,Creole.
CreoleisverygladtofinallymeetSonnysbrotherandcomplimentshimforhavingsuchafine

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musicianinthefamily.Creolecomesacrossnotonlyasthebandleader,butasasortoffather
figurewhoiswelcomingSonnybackintotheworldofjazzafterhisdrugarrest.Heisthebass
playerintheband,andalsothemusicianwhosubtlyholdsthewholebandtogether.Herarely
solosorisinthespotlight,butwhenthebassisoff,theentirebandsoundsoff.Alsoofnoteishis
name,Creole.Becauseofhisnickname,onecanassumethatCreoleis,infact,aCreole.Creoles,
Louisianablacksofmixedheritage,usuallywithCaucasianblood,wereknownfortheirhigh
levelofmusicianshipintheprejazzeraofthelate19thandearly20thcentury.Mastersof
ragtimeandclassicalmusic,Creoleswereakeyelementinthecreationofjazzmixingitwith
thebluesandhornbandsofNewOrleans(Gumbo).Creoleservesasaconnectiontotheworldof
jazzandtotheoutsideworldinthatheisawelcomingfatherfiguretoSonny,wholosthis
father.Creolealsorepresentssomeofthewhite,conventional,mainstreamworldthatSonnyand
otherbebopmusiciansoftheeraarerejecting.Creolealsorepresentspartsofthewhite,
conventional,mainstreamworldthatSonnyandotherbebopmusiciansoftheeraarerejecting.It
isastrugglethatSonnyfaceseveryday,thechoiceofthelifeofthejazzmusician,orlifeofthe
mainstreamworld.Sonnychoosesnottojointhemainstream,and,thus,couldpossibly
selfdestruct.Thebandbeginstoplay,andBaldwinbrilliantlypaintsapictureofthemusicians
onstageastheyslowly,butsurely,fallintoagroove.Creole,throughhisplaying,pullsand
coaxesSonnyintothedeepwatersofthemusic,pullinghimfartherintotheworldofjazz,andof
darkness,whereSonnyfeelsathome.
He[Creole]washavingadialoguewithSonny.HewantedSonnytoleavethe
shorelineandstrikeoutforthedeepwater.HewasSonny'switnessthatdeep
wateranddrowningwerenotthesamethinghehadbeenthere,andheknew.And

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hewantedSonnytoknow.HewaswaitingforSonnytodothethingsonthekeys
whichwouldletCreoleknowthatSonnywasinthewater(Baldwin146).
Sonny,afternothavingplayedthepianoforayear,eventuallyfindshisgrooveandfalls
inwiththerestoftheband,intoaworldhelovesandisapartof,aworldwhichalsoseparates
himfromfamilyandfromthetrappingsofmainstreamsociety.ThereisnootherpathforSonny.
Injazz,hefindshislife,hefindsfreedom,freedomfromaworldinwhichhecannotconformat
thesametimeitisthisfreedomthatalsotrapshim.Paradoxically,thisworld,andthislife,will
possiblydestroyhim.ThenarratorcommentswhilewatchingSonnyplay,
FreedomlurkedaroundusandIunderstood,atlast,thathecouldhelpustobe
freeifwewouldlisten,thathewouldneverbefreeuntilwedid.Yet,therewasno
battleinhisfacenow.Iheardwhathehadgonethrough,andwouldcontinueto
gothroughuntilhecametorestinearth.Hehadmadeithis:thatlongline,of
whichweknewonlyMamaandDaddy.Andhewasgivingitback,aseverything
mustbegivenback,sothat,passingthroughdeath,itcanliveforever(Baldwin
148).
BebopandtheBeatGeneration
Therelationshipbetweenmusic,literatureandarthasalwaysbeenaverycloseand
intertwiningconnection.Writershavealwayssetstoriesandpoemstothesoundsofmusic.
Songsareessentiallypoetryarrangedtomusic.Intheearlyandmiddlepartsofthe20thcentury
timesbegantochange,andtherelationshipofpoetryandmusichadamajorimpactona
subcultureofAmericanswhofeltalienatedfrommainstreamcultureandsociety.Thisalienation
createdadrivetoseeksomethingnew,morefulfillingandmeaningfulinapostwarAmericathat

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wasdrivenbyconformistattitudesandconsumerism(Patterson).Bytheearlypartofthe1950sa
smallandtalentedgroupofBeatwritersincludingAllenGinsberg,JackKerouac,William
BurroughsandGregoryCorso,begantoexperimentwithAfricanAmericanrhythmsand
improvisation,thesameelementsusedinbebopandbybebopmusicianssuchasCharlieParker,
TheloniousMonk,DizzyGillespie,MilesDavisandCharlesMingus.Thus,anewsocial
movement,heavilyinfluencedbytherhythmsandimprovisationsofbebopwascreated.
Radicalineveryaspect,theuseofbebopaestheticsintheirwritingschangedtraditionalpoetryas
wellasthesociologicallandscapeofpostwarAmerica(Patterson).Drugabuseandheavy
drinkingintheworldofbebopwascommonamongthemusicians.Heroinaddictionanddrug
bustscommonformanymusicians,resultedinthelossoftheircabaretcards,licensesneededto
playandearnpayintheclubsofNewYork.Thehighprofilecasesofdrugaddictioninthe
Bebopworldmeantthemusicwasgaininganimageofhighenergy,fastpaced,talented
personalitieslivingalifewhichseemedfreefromallworriesoftherealworld.HenryWeekes,in
hisarticle,Bebop:CharlieParker,JackKerouacandtheBeatGenerationstatesthat,
ThehighprofilecasesofdrugaddictionintheBebopworldmeantthemusicwas
startingtogainanimage,theimageofhighenergy,fastpaced,talented
personalitieslivingalifewhichseemedfreefromallworriesoftherealworld.
Thisimagebecamejustasimportantasthemusic.MusicianssuchasParkerwere
seenasmorethanentertainers,theywereseenasintellectualsandtrendsetters,
leadingthewayforotherartistsandacademicsofthetimedothesamething.A
primeexampleofthisisagroupofwritersknownastheBeatGeneration.

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Kerouacspecificallystatesbebop,andParkerinparticular,asthemaininfluences
onhislifeandworks(Weekes).
MuchlikeCharlieParkersimprovisationonhishornduringatunesuchasKoko.Jack
Kerouacwrotemanyofhispoemsandbooksinspontaneousprose,sayingthatthewordsonthe
pageareastreamofconsciousnesslaiddownwithlittlepunctuationinastreamofpurethoughts.
Weekesstatesthat,Kerouacneverwentbackoverhiswords,oftenwritinghisbooksina
numberofweeks.Theintenseperiodsofwritingmeantthatthetechniquehadtobeextensively
practiced,soKerouackeptmultiplediariesandwrotenotesconstantlytotryandimprove
(Weekes).LikeaBebopmusician,thistechniquerequiresthattheperformerorwriterpractices
andbecomesamastertechnicianoftheircraft.

AnexcellentexampleofKerouacswritinginthebebopstyleofspontaneousproseis
MexicoCityBlues.WritteninMexicoCitybetween1954and1957whileundertheinfluenceof
marijuanaandmorphine,freeformchorusesaredefinedonlybythesizeofKerouac'snotebook
page.
ButteMagicofIgnorance
ButteMagic
IsthesameasnoButte
Allonelight
OldRoughRoads
OneHighIron
Mainway

Denveristhesame
'TheguyIwaswithhisunclewas
thegovernorofWyoming'

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'Coursehepaidmeback'
TenDays
TwoWeeks
StockandJoint

'Wasanoldcrookanyway'(Kerouac)
Asthepoemprogresses,erraticandevenmorefreeformpassagesoccur,breakingdownand
takingaturn,similartomusiciansinthemiddleofalatenightBebopjamsession.Inthe228th
chorushewrites,
PraisedbeI,writing,deadalready&
deadagain
Dippedinancidinkl
theflamd

ofTim

theAngloOgloSaxonManeuvers
OfOldPoeto's
IncontrasttoKerouac,AllenGinsbergspoetryusedtherhythmsofjazztopromotethe
creationofasocietycenteredaroundtheideologiesthatbebopembodied(Patterson).Inhis
essay,Blowing:PoetryMeetsMusicintheWritingoftheBeatGeneration,EricPatterson
writesaboutGinsberg,
ForhimitwasthecompleteideaofaJazzsocietythatcementedhisrelationto
themusic.Notonlywasheutilizingtherhythmicpatternsofbreathingheardin
theblowingofajazzmusician,buthewasalsomockingtheestablishmentby
embracingvirtuallyeveryaspectofthejazzcounterculture(Patterson).

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Asseeninthefollowingexample,AllenGinsbergsHowlusesastraighterrhythmthat
stillincorporatesandutilizesbebopaestheticsandphilosophy.ThefollowingexcerptfromHowl
isagoodexample,
Isawthebestmindsofmygenerationdestroyedbymadness,starvinghysterical
naked,draggingthemselvesthroughthenegrostreetsatdawnlookingforan
angryfix,angelheadedhipstersburningfortheancientheavenlyconnectiontothe
starrydynamointhemachineryofnight,
whopovertyandtattersandholloweyedandhighsatupsmokinginthe
supernaturaldarknessofcoldwaterflatsfloatingacrossthetopsofcities
contemplatingjazz(Ginsberg9)
Ginsberg,inhispoemAmerica,againusesajazzattitudeandaesthetictocritique
America,
Americawhenwillyoubeangelic?
Whenwillyoutakeoffyourclothes?
Whenwillyoulookatyourselfthroughthegrave?
WhenwillyoubeworthyofyourmillionTrotskyites?
Americawhyareyourlibrariesfulloftears?
AmericawhenwillyousendyoureggstoIndia?
I'msickofyourinsanedemands.
WhencanIgointothesupermarketandbuywhatIneedwithmygoodlooks?
AmericaafterallitisyouandIwhoareperfectnotthenextworld.
Yourmachineryistoomuchforme.
Youmademewanttobeasaint(Ginsberg,America39).
Conclusion
Beatwriters,searchingforspontaneity,authenticityandanalternativetothemainstream,
adoptedanartformthatwasnotreadilyacceptedbyAmericansociety:jazzandits
counterculture.Indoingso,anewstyleofwritingwascreatedinconjunctionwithanewstyleof

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playingjazz.ThisallowedtheBeatstocreateartwhileatthesametimeexposingthehypocrisies
andmythsofpostwarAmericansociety.
Art,initsvariousforms,servesasalensthroughwhichcultureandsocietyisviewed.
Notalwaysarosecoloredview,artalsoexposesthetouchofgreythatisinherentinanysociety.
Paradoxically,atthesametimeitreflectsgreatbeauty.Jazzisbeautiful.Jazzcanalsobeugly.
Literatureisalsobeautiful.Literaturealsocomesinaformthatdepictstheuglinessofhuman
nature.Whenliteratureexistsinaworldwhereotherartformslikejazzexist,thereisboundto
besomemixing.WhetheritsthewritersduringtheHarlemRenaissanceinfusingjazzintotheir
writings,orjazzmusiciansadoptingthephilosophiesofwritersintotheirmusic,itisinevitable
thatthesymbioticnatureofthisrelationshipwillintheendcreategreatart.

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WorksCited
Baldwin,James."Sonny'sBlues."GoingtoMeettheMan.Vintage,1985.12248.Print.
Early,Gerald."JazzandtheAfricanAmericanLiteraryTradition,Freedom'sStory,
TeacherServe,NationalHumanitiesCenter."TeacherServe.NationalHumanities
Center,June2010.Web.23June2016.
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