Matt Sakakeeny is an ethnomusicologist and journalist, New Orleans resident and musician. This talk is on a thriving brass band tradition, in New Orleans today young black Americans continue to perform, listen, and dance to jazz. Brass band musicians are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans.
Jazz Studies Online: You're from New York. What kept you here when you decided to pursue a career as a jazz musician? What features did the city offer then that others did not? Given that you stayed in New York (or nearby) have your motivations for being here changed?
An examination of the new jazz that emerged shortly after the middle of the 20th century. Discussion will include the work of musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, Albert Ayler, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago; the economics and politics of the period; parallel developments in other arts; the rise of new performance spaces, recording companies, and collectives; the accomplishments of the music and the problems it raised for jazz performance and criticism.
This artful survey of interpretations of jazz history is also a challenge to the notion that there can or should be any single one. DeVeaux shows that common claims as to what jazz is about-a form of resistance, a folk art, an autonomous high art-coexist uneasily, and that each has been used to support otherwise antagonistic stylistic agendas. He calls for closer inquiry into the nuanced history of each period and rejects dogmatic assertions of jazz' "essence."