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.
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.
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.
Jazz history is sometimes – too often! – told as a sequence of turning points – a journey from one seminal moment to another, lingering at the milestones where everything – cultural, aesthetic, and even political – supposedly coalesces into "the new." One of these moments happened sixty years ago at the Elks Club on Central Avenue in Los Angeles. On July 6, 1947, Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon locked musical horns with their tenor saxophones. Portions of the night's playing were released on a series of four 78s on the Bop! Records label.
In this essay, often cited and reprinted, Schuller argues that a jazz solo's thematic structure should be considered on a par with its swing, melodic interest, and originality. He presents Sonny Rollins' "Blue Seven" solo as one possessing all of these qualities and analyzes it bar by bar to show the elements of formal thematic coherence within it.
This doctoral thesis argues that division between jazz and rock is an artifact of journalistic discourse on the subject, making reference to leading journals such as Down Beat and Rolling Stone.
Gerald Majer, a native of Chicago's racially segregated South Side, has written a book about its musical life. The Velvet Lounge combines his personal experiences with the story, or stories, of his community, merging his account of the music and with the difficult conditions that shaped it. The result is an innovative combination of history, subjective experience of that history, and reflection on its meaning--that is, of fact, literature, and criticism.
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.