Critical Theory

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."

Jacques Derrida and Jazz

Jacques Derrida and Jazz

Jacques Derrida, the influential literary theorist, did not generally address music in his work, let alone jazz. Nevertheless, connections have been made between his ideas about the fundamental ambiguity of texts, of the complexity and instability of systems, and his explicitly radical political project, on one hand; and a form of music that seeks dynamism, surprise, and fundamental change on the other.


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