Synopses & Reviews
Stretching from the years during the Second World War when young couples jitterbugged across the dance floor at the Zenda Ballroom, through the early 1950s when honking tenor saxophones could be heard at the Angelus Hall, to the Spanish-language cosmopolitanism of the late 1950s and 1960s, Mexican American Mojo
is a lively account of Mexican American urban culture in wartime and postwar Los Angeles as seen through the evolution of dance styles, nightlife, and, above all, popular music. Revealing the links between a vibrant Chicano music culture and postwar social and geographic mobility, Anthony Macandiacute;as shows how by participating in jazz, the zoot suit phenomenon, car culture, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and Latin music, Mexican Americans not only rejected second-class citizenship and demeaning stereotypes, but also transformed Los Angeles.
Macandiacute;as conducted numerous interviews for Mexican American Mojo, and the voices of little-known artists and fans fill its pages. In addition, more famous musicians such as Ritchie Valens and Lalo Guerrero are considered anew in relation to their contemporaries and the city. Macandiacute;as examines language, fashion, and subcultures to trace the history of hip and cool in Los Angeles as well as the Chicano influence on urban culture. He argues that a grass-roots andldquo;multicultural urban civilityandrdquo; that challenged the attempted containment of Mexican Americans and African Americans emerged in the neighborhoods, schools, nightclubs, dance halls, and auditoriums of mid-twentieth-century Los Angeles. So take a little trip with Macandiacute;as, via streetcar or freeway, to a time when Los Angeles had advanced public high school music programs, segregated musiciansandrsquo; union locals, a highbrow municipal Bureau of Music, independent R and B labels, and robust rock and roll and Latin music scenes.
andldquo;I am especially excited by the interviews Anthony Macandiacute;as conducted, which make central perspectives long missing from scholarship on jazz, swing, and R and B. Macandiacute;asandrsquo;s method of looking at Los Angelesandrsquo;s social geography of race and ethnicity andlsquo;through a prism of popular musicandrsquo; will be of great interest to those interested in the histories of popular music, Mexican America, and Los Angeles.andrdquo;andmdash;Sherrie Tucker, author of Swing Shift: andldquo;All-Girlandrdquo; Bands of the 1940s
andldquo;Mexican American Mojo is a timely and engaging work that thoroughly demonstrates the development of popular Mexican American culture in mid-twentieth-century Los Angeles. Anthony Macandiacute;as has written an illuminating and remarkable study that belongs in the library of anyone interested in Mexican American culture.andrdquo;andmdash;Raul A. Fernandez, author of From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz
A study of the creation of jazz, swing, and R&B music within the multicultural, multiethnic terrain of Los Angeles during and after World War II.
About the Author
Anthony Macandiacute;as is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside.
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Mexican American Generation, Music, and Los Angeles 1
1. Mojo in Motion: The Swing Era 12
2. The Drape Shape: Intercultural Style Politics 62
3. Boogie Woogie Breakthrough: The Rhythm and Blues Era 118
4. Come On, Let's Go: The Rock and Roll Era 173
5. Con Sabor Latino: Latin Jazz, the Mambo, and Latin Holidays 229
Conclusion. Alternate Takes and Political Generations 281