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Music USA #770-B, Duke Ellington Hour

Description: The entire program for the jazz hour (second hour) of Music USA, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, with selections from the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, including the entirety of "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue." This program was broadcast on February 6, 1957.
Date: January 9, 1957
Creator: Conover, Willis
Partner: UNT Music Library

Willis Conover: American Jazz #1

Description: The second part of a broadcast which featured Willis Conover discussing the music of Duke Ellington, followed by a translation in Swedish by an unknown speaker. This program occurred more than five years before the beginning of Conover's long-running VOA program, Music USA.
Date: August 23, 1949
Creator: Conover, Willis
Partner: UNT Music Library

“Sounds for Adventurous Listeners”: Willis Conover, the Voice of America, and the International Reception of Avant-garde Jazz in the 1960S

Description: In “Sounds for Adventurous Listeners,” I argue that Conover’s role in the dissemination of jazz through the Music USA Jazz Hour was more influential on an educational level than what literature on Conover currently provides. Chapter 2 begins with an examination of current studies regarding the role of jazz in Cold War diplomacy, the sociopolitical implications of avant-garde jazz and race, the convergence of fandom and propaganda, the promoter as facilitator of musical trends, and the influence of international radio during the Cold War. In chapter 3 I introduce the Friends of Music USA Newsletter and explain its function as a record of overseas jazz reception and a document that cohered a global network of fans. I then focus on avant-garde debates of the 1960s and discuss Conover’s role overseas and in the United States. Chapter 4 engages social purpose and jazz criticism in the 1960s. I discuss Conover’s philosophy on social responsibility, and how his contributions intersected with other relevant discourses on race on the eve of the civil rights movement. I argue that Conover embodied two personas: one as jazz critic and promoter in the United States, and the other as an international intermediary. In chapter 5 I discuss how Conover presented the avant-garde to his overseas audience. I argue that through his efforts to broadcast jazz impartially, he legitimized avant-garde and emphasized its qualities as art music. In chapter 6 I explore fandom studies as they apply to the formation of Music USA as a global fan network. I discuss the early roots of Conover’s interest in science fiction fandom as a motivation for the implementation of the Friends of Music USA (FOMUSA) groups. Chapter 7 concludes in a discussion of the deification of Conover though the medium of radio in the midst of the Cold War. ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Breckenridge, Mark A.
Partner: UNT Libraries