This book presents a unique sociological vision of the evolution of jazz in the twentieth century. Analysing organizational structures and competing discourses in American music, Paul Lopes shows how musicians and others transformed the meaning and practice of jazz. Set against the distinct worlds of high art and popular art in America, the rise of a jazz art world is shown to be a unique movement - a socially diverse community struggling in various ways against cultural orthodoxy. Cultural politics in America is shown to be a dynamic, open, and often contradictory process of constant re-interpretation. This work is a compelling social history of American culture that incorporates various voices in jazz, including musicians, critics, collectors, producers and enthusiasts. Accessibly written and interdisciplinary in approach, it will be of great interest to scholars and students of sociology, cultural studies, social history, American studies, African-American studies, and jazz studies.