To Duval, German jazz vibraphonist Christopher Dell approached writing Prinzip Improvisation ("The Improvisation Principle") as he approaches performing music, preferring improvisation to premeditated structure. The book is therefore an attempt to grapple with the problem of using language to describe jazz' fluid musical processes, and a nonlinear text which an active reader may choose to interpret in his or her own way.
This essay documents the absorption of jazz by the European artistic vanguard between 1910 and 1930. Because of jazz' perceived spontaneous and libidinous qualities, avant-garde artists exploited it as a symbol of modernism "like a decal on a traveler's bag," in turn preparing jazz' appropriation by the world of fashion of that time.
Iyer asks how an improvised solo can convey meaning or “tell a story.” He develops a theory of jazz improvisation around his idea of hearing the body. To Iyer, the effectiveness of improvisation, particularly its rhythmic aspect, depends on an awareness by producers and listeners of the physical actions involved and their situation within a shared social environment, which creates a cascade of meaningful events in an “exploded” (i.e., not conventionally linear) narrative.
This dialogue was initiated by literary journal New Ohio Review between two professors of literature who have explored the meaning of jazz and improvisation for their craft. Rasula and Edwards begin by discussing how they happened to become interested in jazz in the first place and who sparked that interest. From that starting point the conversation ranges to how audiences for jazz may emerge and how communities may form around it (particularly those of various ethnic diaspora).
In his Introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, O'Meally explores whether the book might be a "blues novel," and whether this quality might be the root of its continuing resonance for us.
Three professors of English and experts in African-American studies, Jonathan Arac, Susan K. Harris, and David L. Smith, present their views on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and on Robert O'Meally's interpretation of it in "Blues for Huckleberry," the Introduction to the Barnes and Noble Classics version of Twain's work.
Wilson squarely confronts the challenge of defining what “black music” is in all its vastness and diversity. He argues that it should not be thought of as a set of specific characteristics, but a conceptual approach to making music, “the manifestations of which are infinite.” Wilson refers to both aesthetic theory and detailed analysis of musical works to highlight the common threads he believes run through all black music.
© 1988 Olly Wilson. Used with permission of BMRJ. All rights reserved.
In this special issue (Nos. 71-72, Spring 2001-Spring 2002), Current Musicology drew together some of the most prominent scholars in the nascent field of jazz studies to deal with important and provocative questions the subject has raised. The volume was dedicated to Columbia professor Mark Tucker, whose untimely death on December 6, 2000 robbed the field of one of its leading lights. This JSO special feature presents selected articles from the issue. © Used by permission of Current Musicology and the authors of specific excerpts.
Ulanov explores the early career of the pianist/composer in order to ask what the roots of his prodigious talent may be.
Literary critic Jacques Derrida was skeptical that jazz improvisation could actually transgress or ignore preset formal and harmonic structure-the "law of jazz"-to achieve totally spontaneous creations and unique, unpremeditated events. Ramshaw argues that no event generated in jazz improvisation is ever totally singular, nor is such an event totally absent in legal institutions, otherwise held to be diametrically opposed to the spontaneity of jazz. She refers to Derrida's own writings on deconstruction for this insight.