Mandel offers his thoughts about the calling of the jazz journalist and critic: the skills the work requires, the responsibilities it entails, and how it enriches our experience of the music. He sees his craft as a difficult, even elusive quest: "jazz journalists . . . are so struck by the glories and multiple dimensions of the art as to need to struggle to describe what we perceive, and to understand our reactions to the sensations."
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.
"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.
Bernstein asks why poets would read their work aloud and what happens when they do. He views the performance of poetry as a "competing realization" of the written work and explores the possibilities for tonal, rhythmic, and phrasing dynamics that performance adds to poetry. That in turn suggests a comparison with jazz performance, and specifically that of Thelonious Monk for his pauses and silences.
Miller argues that Caribbean music is central to the emergence and development of jazz. The Caribbean islands were a crucial transfer point to the mainland United States for African rhythms and musical forms from the beginning of the slave trade until the present. Caribbean music was especially important in the development of jazz in New Orleans, America's Caribbean city.
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.
An unlikely encounter between folklore archivist Alan Lomax and jazz composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton led to some remarkable recordings for the Library of Congress of Morton speaking, singing, and playing. This article recounts the events that led to the historic meeting and explores the significance of the life and music captured in the recordings. The article contains a wealth of information on Morton’s early life, his uneven career, his incisive and wide-ranging views on jazz and related musical forms, and his central place in the development and dissemination of jazz.
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.