Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State

Sheet Music

Texas Platters

Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State

By Dave Oliphant
University of Texas Press,242 pp., $22.95

There's no denying Texas jazz musicians have played an enormous role in the genre's innovations and development. No one has more thoroughly documented and enthusiastically championed this than retired UT lecturer Dave Oliphant. Like his previous book, 1996's Texan Jazz, these 16 essays, some previously unpublished, examine musical aspects common to Texans while trumpeting the contributions of Lone Star jazz icons. No surprise that Fort Worth-born revolutionary Ornette Coleman receives a couple of well-deserved chapters, but one of the attributes of Jazz Mavericks is the space provided to lesser known but still important jazzmen like San Marcos guitarist/composer/arranger Eddie Durham, the first musician to amplify a guitar, and trumpeter/bandleader/former Austinite Kenny Dorham. One intriguing chapter discusses the role of Texans like Budd Johnson and Jimmy Giuffre in non-Texan Woody Herman's influential Herds. The author finds jazz and literature a fecund subject but limits it here to Texas writers and poets. Often overlooked by scholars is the place of Western swing within the larger historical context of jazz, but Oliphant examines the birth of this Southwestern phenomenon through Milton Brown & the Musical Brownies. Well-researched with mountains of documentation, Jazz Mavericks tends toward the academic, not the best point of entry for a genre novice, but those with a firm grounding in the music will find some real insight. (Dave Oliphant will be discussing Texas jazz, spinning discs of the same, and signing copies of Jazz Mavericks at BookPeople, Friday, Aug. 31, 7pm.)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Memorable Moments From ACL Fest Weekend One
Memorable Moments From ACL Fest Weekend One
Some of our favorite performances that you can revisit this weekend

Abby Johnston, Oct. 14, 2022

Review: The Bearer's <i>Chained to a Tree</i> (Silent Pendulum)
The Bearer's Chained to a Tree (Silent Pendulum)
Chained to a Tree (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 23, 2022

More by Jay Trachtenberg
Turning the Page on the Year in Books
Turning the Page on the Year in Books
New works by Cormac McCarthy and Sarah Bird make for a memorable year in literature

Dec. 16, 2022

What We’re Listening to This Week
What We’re Listening to This Week
Angela Strehli, Quentin Arispe, and an improvisation supergroup

Nov. 11, 2022


Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle