South Africa is unusual in that jazz is the center of a lively popular music culture in that country, and not just a niche market. A major part of the South African jazz audience are members of organizations known as stockvels, which are part savings clubs, part music appreciation societies, and part social networking and patronage hubs. Gatherings there typically involve not only listening to jazz records, but improvising dance performances to them.
In this video, saxophonist and composer Jimmy Heath talks with colleague Salim Washington about his new autobiography. In I Walked with Giants (Temple University Press, 2010), Heath creates a "dialogue" with musicians he has known and family members. This discussion expands on Heath's account of his life and career. He offers his thoughts on growing up in the big band era and the advent of bebop; on the experience and legacy of racial segregation; on the jazz tradition and the avant-garde; on the power of the music industry and what constitutes musical integrity and quality.
Saxophonist Roy Nathanson talks about his experiences as a Columbia student during the unrest at the University and the militant aftermath during the late 1960s, his development as an artist in an astonishing variety of forms (including composition, songwriting, poetry, acting and teaching) his work with global stars and with high school students, and his basic need to "tell a story" no matter what artistic language he uses. Click here for Part II.
A survey of the life and music of Miles Davis, examining the social history and musical traditions which shaped his work, and exploring his influence on music, literature and society.
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Analysis of jazz solos has often focused on formal coherence. Proponents of this approach have often tried to establish a parallel to the formal rigor of classical music-and thus to uphold jazz' status as an art form (for example, see Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation). Givan argues that close analysis can be instead be used to highlight not continuity in a jazz solo but discontinuity, which has its own creative and symbolic possibilities.
Tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton talks about his connections to an earlier, submerged mainstream jazz "tradition" of the 1940s and ‘50s and speaks eloquently of the music that inspired him.
In "'Come on in North Side, you're just in time': Musical-Verbal Performance and the Negotiation of Ethnically Segregated Social Space," Scruggs explores the ways that tenor saxophonist Von Freeman used both music and speech to create a sense of community and shared tradition through his performances at Chicago's Enterprise Lounge during the 1970s and 1980s.
In this interview with Professor Jim Merod, composer and trombonist Tom McIntosh reflects on overcoming many kinds of racial barriers, criticizes the idea of jazz as an expression of "primitive" human culture, and explores the impact of African-American culture on popular music.