Jazz has long been labeled "America's classical music," but what happened when jazz was displaced from its native land, leaving swing and the blues behind? In his new book Northern Sun, Southern Moon: Europe's Reinvention of Jazz, Mike Heffley examines how, after the creators of so-called "free jazz"--Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Anthony Braxton, among others--liberated American jazz from its western ties, European musicians found their own distinctive voices and created a vital, innovative, and independent jazz culture.
"You have to hand it to Heffley," says David Yaffe in the latest issue of The Nation. "This is a man who knows his von Schlippenbach, his Jost, his Kowald. European jazz is certainly a subject important enough to justify substantial scholarly heavy lifting, and for anyone who wants to understand it, this is the definitive study."
In the most recent issue of BookForum, Stephanie Hanson lauds the book's "commendable effort to rectify the scholarly silence on European free jazz." Heffley, she says, "marshals an impressive roster of French and German primary source documents and extensive musician interviews...[that] are uniformly excellent."