"We are in the transhuman age," declares composer Pauline Oliveros, referring to the extension of human capabilities through technology. Oliveros tells how her own early improvisations with tape recording and editing anticipated many current creative uses of sound technology, and asks how further advances will bring new tools to experiment with and new realms to explore.
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.
Smith explores the act of naming jazz compositions. He takes Thelonious Monk's "Let's Call This," which is elliptical and open to multiple meanings, as a starting point. Smith believes the song title is an example of African-American transgressiveness, through the creation of an aloof, sometimes deliberately ironic aesthetic. The author explores the music, and the titles, of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Anthony Braxton in this regard. He also bases his argument on the poetry of Nathaniel Mackey, who "sees language as history.
This article explores the historiography of early black music and its legacy. In examining texts from the 19th century to the 1940s, Ramsey finds that black music has always been a fertile source of controversy-and that the same issues still resonate in current debates. He takes as his starting point the cleavage between "cosmopolitan" and "provincial" outlooks, which viewed American music from a European perspective, or a more resolutely and defiantly American one, respectively.
Monson counters the romantic notion of Monk as an apolitical aesthete or isolated genius by pointing to his support of and explicit opinions on civil rights at the peak of the movement in the early 1960s. She focuses on Monk's participation in a series of concerts benefiting leading Civil Rights organizations, such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
This essay explores the way New Orleans jazz was disseminated throughout the country, taking the Creole Band as a case study. This group included legendary jazz musicians Freddy Keppard and George Bacquet, was a popular vaudeville act, and traveled earlier and more widely than its New Orleans peers. Yet the Creole Band has had far less historical documentation and discussion. The authors address this gap by examining notice of the Creole Band in the white theatrical press.
Lewis notes that race has been "e-raced" in studies of free jazz in Europe and America, which he finds surprising given the music's emancipatory thrust. He investigates a recurrent ambivalence about the African-American contribution to free jazz, at once taking experimental cues from it, yet denying that it is capable of evolving or progressing itself. After uncovering coded assumptions about race, ethnicity, and class behind this ambivalence, Lewis explores the possibilities for artists to transcend, transgress, and perhaps even erase boundaries.
Nicholls argues that the way artistic projects are represented depends at least in part upon the willingness of critics to look beyond musical sounds alone and take notice of issues of identity and social positioning-their own and that of the artists they evaluate. To illustrate this point, she discusses the varying reception of John Coltrane, whose stature gave him a platform to resist and redress the negative judgments his experimental work received.
Since their emergence from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the 1960s, the members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago have created a distinctive multidisciplinary performance practice centered on collective improvisation. In this article, Steinbeck conceptualizes Art Ensemble improvisations as networks of group interactions, and he analyzes an excerpt from a 1972 Art Ensemble concert recording using a phenomenological perspective informed by his conversations with the group about the performance and by my own experience as an improvised-music practitioner.