And Then I Don’t Feel So Bad

Jazz, Sentimentality, and Popular Song

Authored by: Alan Stanbridge

The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138231160
eBook ISBN: 9781315315805
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315315805-14

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Abstract

The work of Rodgers and Hammerstein has always occupied a somewhat ambivalent position in the pantheon of American popular song, with the critical response to jazz readings of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs tending to find parody and irony in such readings. In this chapter, I explore the charges of sentimentality leveled not only at Rodgers and Hammerstein’s work but also at Fletcher Henderson’s populist repertoire of the early 1930s. Such charges stand in contradistinction to claims of “authenticity” in jazz—a dichotomy that I refute, arguing that some work in jazz studies simply fails to engage with the sentimentalism that remains a fundamental characteristic of much jazz and popular music.

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