This page will update weekly to include a new question for the books that we are currently reading. Once the book is done, the questions will be archived and this page will start anew with the next reading.
Sidney Bechet begins his book talking about a man who believed that Jazz would be lost if people didn’t remember and listen to the greats of the time. He stated,
“I began to think there’s a whole lot of people, all they’ve been hearing is how ragtime got started in New Orleans, and as far as they know it just stopped there. They get to think in a memory kind of way all about Jazz; but these people do’t seem to know it’s more than a memory thing. They don’t seem to know it’s happening right there where they’re listening to it, just as much as it ever did in memory” (2).
How does this passage highlight the problems of viewing Jazz as only one type of sound embodied by a handful of great musicians in a specific geographic area? How can we avoid what we might call “the good old days” mentality about jazz music?
What purposes does telling Omar’s story serve? Why does Bechet tell it in his autobiography, do you think?