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RifftideThe Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones$
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Papa Jo Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673001

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673001.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 19 June 2021

The Count Basie Institution

The Count Basie Institution

(p.47) The Count Basie Institution

Papa Jo Jones

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter contains a riveting account of Jo Jones’s tenure as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra, as well as his passionate defense for fellow jazz musician and bandmate, Count Basie himself. Jones argues for the Count Basie Orchestra as a cultural institution, whereby he wryly notes a pointed difference between “high” and “low” forms of entertainment. Back when he was making the musical circuits with Basie, Jones had noticed that people often looked down on the kinds of musicians who played bands, because of their low pay and willingness to perform in disreputable establishments. Basie was considered lowbrow entertainment, but Jones argues that Basie had had an excellent chance of honing his skills and pushing the limits of the form. Basie’s performance was astonishingly rife with variety, in riffs and styles—for Basie it was about improvisation and experimentation.

Keywords:   Count Basie, Count Basie Orchestra, cultural institution, lowbrow entertainment, jazz musician

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