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Jazz Cultures

Jazz Cultures

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Jazz Cultures
    Book Description:

    From its beginning, jazz has presented a contradictory social world: jazz musicians have worked diligently to erase old boundaries, but they have just as resolutely constructed new ones. David Ake's vibrant and original book considers the diverse musics and related identities that jazz communities have shaped over the course of the twentieth century, exploring the many ways in which jazz musicians and audiences experience and understand themselves, their music, their communities, and the world at large. Writing as a professional pianist and composer, the author looks at evolving meanings, values, and ideals--as well as the sounds--that musicians, audiences, and critics carry to and from the various activities they call jazz. Among the compelling topics he discusses is the "visuality" of music: the relationship between performance demeanor and musical meaning. Focusing on pianists Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, Ake investigates the ways in which musicians' postures and attitudes influence perceptions of them as profound and serious artists. In another essay, Ake examines the musical values and ideals promulgated by college jazz education programs through a consideration of saxophonist John Coltrane. He also discusses the concept of the jazz "standard" in the 1990s and the differing sense of tradition implied in recent recordings by Wynton Marsalis and Bill Frisell.Jazz Culturesshows how jazz history has not consisted simply of a smoothly evolving series of musical styles, but rather an array of individuals and communities engaging with disparate--and oftentimes conflicting--actions, ideals, and attitudes.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92696-7
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-9)

    Unlike psychology or American literature (or the music of Milton Babbitt, for that matter), jazz scholarship has yet to find a comfortable home in the academy. Though seemingly an obvious fit for music departments, no one appears sure which area of music research should claim jazz as its own. As my friend David Borgo, the outstanding saxophonist and ethnomusicologist, likes to say, “Jazz is too ‘Other’ for musicology and not ‘Other’ enough for ethnomusicology.” Consequently, while some excellent work on jazz has emerged from those two disciplines, a significant percentage of the serious research on the subject has originated outside...

  7. One “BLUE HORIZON” Creole Culture and Early New Orleans Jazz
    (pp. 10-41)

    As historian gwendolyn Midlo Hall has noted, “New Orleans remains, in spirit, the most African city in the United States.”¹ At the same time, however, cultural identity among peoples of African extraction in that city has remained anything but uniform. In fact, two distinct African-diasporic communities—the Francocentricgens du couleur, or “Creoles of color,” and the English-speaking slaves and their descendants—have coexisted in the Crescent City for centuries, each group embodying very different norms and ideals.²

    Although the subject of racial/cultural identity in jazz has been conceived largely in terms of a black and white binary, this chapter...

    (pp. 42-61)

    Saxophonist and singer Louis Jordan emerged as one of the most influential and commercially successful bandleaders of the 1940s. His buoyant music and affable stage presence garnered him a large and diverse following in an America still characterized by stark social and cultural divisions. The “problem” suggested in this chapter’s title refers to the fact that although Jordan’s hugely popular bands featured a hard-swinging rhythmic drive and outstanding improvised solos—two cornerstones of formalist definitions of jazz—he remains largely ignored in jazz history books, recording anthologies, and video documentaries. My goal here is not merely to argue that Louis...

  9. Three REGENDERING JAZZ Ornette Coleman and the New York Scene in the Late 1950s
    (pp. 62-82)

    This chapter focuses on gender codes in jazz. More specifically, it looks to the end of the 1950s as a moment of contestation between established notions of masculinity and a new approach embodied by Ornette Coleman. I should note at the outset that although I argue that Coleman’s performances undermined accepted ideas of masculinity in jazz, I do not mean to suggest that his music is somehow “feminine.” Musical practices, like all cultural practices, only “mean” in relation to other practices. If Coleman and his colleagues did serve to regender the music, it is only because jazz communities had already...

  10. Four BODY AND SOUL Performing Deep Jazz
    (pp. 83-111)

    This chapter concerns the relationship between musical sound and the physical performance of it: the ways that musicians’ bodily gestures reinforce certain possible meanings for their audiences while delimiting contrasting interpretations. I focus particular attention on the presentation of expressive “depth” in jazz through two highly regarded and influential post–bop-era pianists, Bill Evans (1929–1980) and Keith Jarrett (born in 1945). We’ll see that both of these players communicate a sense of artistic and personal depth (profundity, sensitivity, seriousness) to audiences through a variety of means, not the least of which is their physical demeanor while performing.¹

    The chapter’s...

  11. Five JAZZ ’TRANING John Coltrane and the Conservatory
    (pp. 112-145)

    Over the past thirty years, college music departments have emerged as among the most powerful forces shaping understandings of jazz in this country. The profusion of jazz history classes, performance ensembles, improvisation courses, and visiting-artist series presented under the auspices of America’s most esteemed educational institutions has unquestionably and drastically altered public perceptions of the genre. As late as the 1960s, popular depictions of jazz suggested a disreputable “underground” music played by African-American or white outsiders (in the early sitcomDobie Gillis, it wasn’t the clean-cut, fair-haired Gillis who “dug” Thelonious Monk but rather his misanthropic beatnik friend, Maynard G....

  12. Six JAZZ TRADITIONING Setting Standards at Century’s Close
    (pp. 146-176)

    In 1991, columbia records released the second of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s ongoingStandard Timeseries of recordings, this one subtitledIntimacy Calling. As the title suggests, “standards,” generally considered the enduring repertoire from America’s popular-song composers, make up the majority of the recordings’ selections.Standard Time Vol. 2features the familiar jazz instrumentation of trumpet, saxophone, piano, acoustic bass, and drums. Two years after Marsalis’s release, guitarist Bill Frisell recordedHave a Little Faithfor Elektra Records. LikeStandard Time, the Frisell album also features works from American composers, but those represented here include Muddy Waters, Charles Ives, Madonna, Stephen...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 177-208)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 209-223)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 224-224)