How should music reference works deal with jazz in the era of multi-genre freelancing? Back in November 1983, when I asked Stanley Sadie, series editor for Grove Dictionaries of Music, if he’d ever thought of having a New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, jazz seemed to be a reasonably coherent genre with a connected succession of styles. Maybe I was just being young, naive, ignorant. Or maybe the notion of jazz as something coherent hadn’t yet started to completely unravel, even though all sorts of challenges were nipping at it, especially as the fusions emerged (jazz-rock, jazz-funk, and so forth).
Today we’ll look at the jazz roots of hip hop by examining the charismatic stage presence and dapper style of the great Cab Calloway. As a pioneer of the genre, Calloway was described by President Bill Clinton as a ‘true legend among the musicians of this century’ – and his legacy lives on today.