A Musical Education: Lee Morgan and the Philadelphia Jazz Scene of the 1950s

McMillan places Lee Morgan's early development and tastes within the context of the jazz scene in Philadelphia. Rather than viewing Morgan as an isolated hero or astounding prodigy, McMillan portrays his talent as a product of the flourishing jazz community that surrounded him.

McMillan is the author of a new book on Morgan, Delightfulee: the Life and Music of Lee Morgan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008). Material from the article posted here appears in this new volume. Purchasing information is available on the University of Michigan Press website.

Deconstructin(g) Jazz Improvisation: Derrida and the Law of the Singular Event

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.

The Other’s Language: Jacques Derrida Interviews Ornette Coleman

Two highly original thinkers share their views on improvisation. Both experienced discrimination: one as an Algerian Jew in colonial France, the other as an African-America in depression-era Texas. Both believe it put them at a distance from their own "languages of origin" yet spurred them to creative acts.

Jacques Derrida on improvisation:

"The very concept of improvisation verges upon reading, since what we often understand by improvisation is the creation of something new, yet something which doesn't exclude the pre-written framework that makes it possible."

Brazilian Popular Music Bibliography


Brazilian Popular Music History and Performance Practice
Professor Cliff Korman


Appleby, David P. The Music of Brazil (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press,1983)

Cancado, Tania Mara Lopes. An Investigation of West African and Haitian Rhythms on the Development of Syncopation in Cuban Habanera, Brazilian Tango/Choro, and American Ragtime, 1791-1900 (unpublished doctoral thesis, Shenandoah University, 1999)


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