Chapter Three

Autoeroticism: Sex, Cars, and Jazz

Jazz Sells, Mark Laver, Grinnell

In this chapter, I deal with the complex relationship between jazz and cars in North America. I situate the relationship historically, discussing the discursive alignment between jazz and cars in the 1920s. I suggest that this alignment was founded upon the role of Fordist mass production in the parallel proliferation of both jazz and cars in the American mainstream: while cars rolled off of Ford and GM assembly lines and into newly-paved driveways across the country, jazz made its way into American homes through the emergent technologies of radio and the recording industry. From the 1920s, I jump ahead to the 1950s, a period that marked the coincidence of the so-called “Golden Age” of car culture with the waning years of what is often as the “golden age” of jazz: the “Big Band Era”. Next, I broaden my scope to consider the jazz-automobile relationship in a more global context, discussing the European and Australian campaigns for the Honda Jazz, a small hatchback that was launched in the EU, Australia, Africa, and Asia in 2001. In the third and final section of the chapter, I look to my first principal case study: Chrysler Canada’s spot for the 2003 Sebring featuring Diana Krall, entitled “The Look of Love,” examining how that advertisement inadvertently reiterates the troubling historical marginalization of women in jazz.

NB: The 2003 Chrysler 300M advertisement discussed in detail in Chapter 3 is unfortunately unavailable.

1953 extended Chevrolet advertisement, featuring Dinah Shore performing “See the U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet”

Advertisements for the 1960 Plymouth Valiant

Honda EU Jazz ad, “Tetris,” 2006

Honda Australia Jazz ad, “Village Green,” 2006

Honda Australia Jazz ad, “Jazz Comes to Town,” 2008

Honda Australia Jazz ad, “Jazz Comes to Town: Carsting Collective,” 2008

Chrysler Canada PT Cruiser ad, “Authority,” 2000

Diana Krall Chrysler endorsement launch, 2001

Diana Krall, “The Look of Love,” The Look of Love, Verve/UMG, 2001