This dialogue was initiated by literary journal New Ohio Review between two professors of literature who have explored the meaning of jazz and improvisation for their craft. Rasula and Edwards begin by discussing how they happened to become interested in jazz in the first place and who sparked that interest. From that starting point the conversation ranges to how audiences for jazz may emerge and how communities may form around it (particularly those of various ethnic diaspora).
Books and Writings
"New Yorkers' imaginations operate on a large scale," claims Stewart, in their choice of orchestras as well as in other pursuits. This article describes the high level of musicianship, variety, and sheer numbers of big bands operating in the city, and surveys the venerable history of New York big bands beginning in the first decades of the 20th century.
Author Graham Lock accompanied Anthony Braxton's classic quartet on a 1985 tour of England, and this book is the result. It includes interviews Lock did with Braxton and other members of his group. These are connected with concert reviews, stories of the tour, and essays on Braxton's ideas on musical languages and notation systems. Braxton candidly discusses his own startlingly innovative work as well his ethical, political, and spiritual beliefs.
Segregation galvanized the African-American community in Central Los Angeles. Its tightyly-knit social structure and cultural ferment nurtured artists who helped lay the groundwork for the avant-garde of the 1950s and inspire the community arts movement from the 1960s to the present in Los Angeles. Isoardi offers a history of this community's growth, development and contribution to jazz.
Guthrie Ramsey's Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop explores the lationship between music and African American identity. Surveying an array of black music styles, Ramsey asks how African Americans have identified themselves in music. He draws upon his experience as a jazz and gospel pianist and his family's participation in the Great Migration to generate an ethnographic method that positions family narrative at the intersection of racial identity and musical expression.
Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't calls for examination of specific musical texts and for situating the artistic practices that they represent in a larger social and cultural milieu.
Caliban, a journal of alternative poetry, featured this collection of articles on the workings and the implications of Thelonious Monk's music. The contributions include poetry inspired by Monk, analysis of his music, and social commentary. These writings were featured in Caliban 4 (1988). To read the current issue online, please go to calibanonline.com.
Wilson squarely confronts the challenge of defining what “black music” is in all its vastness and diversity. He argues that it should not be thought of as a set of specific characteristics, but a conceptual approach to making music, “the manifestations of which are infinite.” Wilson refers to both aesthetic theory and detailed analysis of musical works to highlight the common threads he believes run through all black music.
© 1988 Olly Wilson. Used with permission of BMRJ. All rights reserved.
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.
Barry Ulanov's liner notes to a recording by Lennie Tristano that also included Lee Konitz, Gene Ramey, and Art Taylor.