Marian Jago combines archival research, interviews, and photos to tell the story of early jazz in Canada: the fascinating musical lives, the social interactions, and the new and infectious energy that paved the way for today’s vibrant Canadian jazz scene.
The most intimate pleasures in jazz are local. After reading Marian Jago’s Live at the Cellar, you might feel as if you had just spent an evening in Vancouver’s hippest nightclub, listening to the latest in cool jazz and experimental music by colourful locals, as well as occasional outsiders (like Mingus and Coleman). Jago’s numerous interviews, thoughtful sociological analysis, and lucid writing bring to light a nearly forgotten corner of the jazz world of the 1950s and ’60s. - Scott Deveaux, author of The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History, and professor of music at the University of Virginia
In Live at the Cellar, Marian Jago deftly explores the phenomenon of co-operative jazz clubs, a neglected area in the study of jazz. While her book focuses on the fertile scene surrounding Vancouver’s Cellar Club and, to a lesser degree, parallel clubs in Edmonton, Calgary and Halifax, her methodology, insights, and conclusions provide an excellent basis for comparative work on co-operatives in the United States and Europe. A pioneering work, this book makes a substantial contribution to jazz scholarship. - Rob Bowman, Grammy Award–winning musicologist and professor of ethnomusicology, York University
The Cellar on Watson Street was a huge part Vancouver’s jazz history and had an obvious influence on my own club, The Cellar on Broadway. I would’ve given anything to be around during the heyday of Vancouver’s jazz co-ops – this book helps me close my eyes and imagine what it was like to be there! - Cory Weeds, jazz musician and owner of The Cellar on Broadway
I grew up in Vancouver during the formative years of “the new jazz,” and I was fortunate enough to be at the “right place and time” to watch jazz history being made. These clubs were our jazz “school,” where we learned all about this North American art form. Our music was formed in a “crucible” of jazz, where all of the elements fused together to form something new. In Live at the Cellar, Marian Jago perfectly chronicles this chapter in Canadian jazz, something that few have revealed in such detail. Her amazing book captures the spirit and essence of that time and that experience. - Terry Clarke, C.M., drummer and Canadian jazz icon
[...]The way Jago sets the stage to explain how and why a musician-run, co-operative jazz venue emerged at this specific time in Vancouver, as in several other places, provides a fascinating window into Canadian history. - Jill Wilson, Canada's History
Live at the Cellar deserves an audience beyond jazz aficionados: in a town that tends to endlessly reinvent the wheel, it tells how the first wheel was forged.- Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
With verve and insight, Veronica Strong-Boag’s account of Laura Jamieson challenges many widely held myths. The book shows how a seemingly conformist, middle-class matron became an unstinting champion of social change – including women’s enfranchisement, birth control, and social democracy. The Last Suffragist Standing is a stunning accomplishment, notably for its fresh and compelling twist on Canadian political history. - Stuart Derdeyn, art and entertainment reporter, Vancouver Sun
Jago’s book is a sparkler. It shows how a small group of believers can make real change and quietly kick ass to boot. Bless ’em all! ... This is Vancouver’s book of the year, hands down.- Trevor Carolan, Subterrain, Issue 81
Good books on jazz are filled with intriguing stories about the relationships that generate such an energizing art form. This book is that, and more. The more is a carefully considered framework for making sense of the social dynamics that create a jazz scene. Put the stories into the framework and you’ve got a must-read book. - Brian Fraser, The Ormsby Review
Marian Jago has performed a genuine service in capturing one of the places that did exist [in the early jazz scene], with a diligently researched and amiably written study of a unique time and place in Vancouver’s musical past.- George Fetherling, Literary Review of Canada
Live at the Cellar deserves an audience beyond jazz aficionados … It’s wonderful to hear about the early days of such significant cultural figures … but what really should be taken away from this book is that scenes such as theirs are what produce culture, and as such deserve more civic and media support than they presently get.- Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
Good books on jazz are filled with intriguing stories about the relationships that generate such an energizing art form. This book is that, and more. The more is a carefully considered framework for making sense of the social dynamics that create a jazz scene. Put the stories into the framework and you’ve got a must-read book. - Brian Fraser, historian and minister, BC Lookbook/The Ormsby Review
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