Blowin’ the Blues Away
Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of California Press
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Series Page, Title Page, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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Although the cover and title page indicate that this book has one author, it is in fact the result of a wide- ranging series of relationships— with musicians, colleagues, friends, and family— spanning a life, several cities, and three academic institutions. Indeed, the number of intellectual and spiritual gifts I have received over that time and in those places has left ...
PART ONE. BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE
1. Studying Jazz
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As the second de cade of the twenty- fi rst century begins, we are undoubt-edly at a pivotal moment in the development of jazz. Major and in de-pen dent record labels and a number of cultural institutions have, par-ticularly since the early 1980s, presented jazz to varied publics in ways that promote both its essential “Americanness” and its supposed univer-...
2. History and Memory, Pathways and Practices: The African Americanness of Jazz
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There are perhaps no issues more vexed in discussions of jazz than the concepts of race and culture. Whenever one encounters them, whether those offering their opinions are musicians, critics, historians, or musi-cologists, what is arguably at stake is legitimation: who can rightfully lay claim to jazz and on what grounds? Is it African American music, ...
PART TWO. SCENES IN THE CITY
3. Jazz and Spatiality: The Development of Jazz Scenes&
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On many nights during my fi eldwork, I would leave my apartment on 119th Street and walk to the 1/9 train station at 116th and Broadway. After descending the stairs on the downtown side, I would proceed to the far end of the station in order to get a seat in the front car. Upon ar-riving at 14th Street, I’d exit the station on the downtown side and walk ...
4. The New York Jazz Scene in the 1990s
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Jazz in the 1990s, as in the 1920s and the 1950s, enjoyed a particularly high public profi le, one that perhaps culminated with the airing of Ken Burns’s Jazz on PBS in 2001. Interest in jazz, however, was still centered more on the personalities of musicians and the abstract development of musical style than on the contours and effects of a temporally and ...
PART THREE. BLOWIN’ THE BLUES AWAY
5. Toward a Blues Aesthetic
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Ralph Ellison makes the above comment (1964b, 224– 25) in a review of Robert Reisner’s Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1962). He feels that Reisner— who recounts an apocryphal tale of how Parker got the nickname “Bird” but does not explore the myriad implications of nick-names and their signifi cation of movement from given to achieved ...
6. Jazz Performance as Ritualized Activity
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The scene and a blues aesthetic are two related means of framing musical events as jazz and as per for mance. Although the scene— space and place through time— constitutes both a setting for and snapshot of jazz per-for mance, the criteria of a blues aesthetic provide participants a way to negotiate the resultant spatio- temporal formation. Other forms of music ...
7. In the Studio and on Stage
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The framings discussed in the previous chapters foreground the impor-tance of attending to the details of a specifi c musical event via its nest-ing in successive frames— a scene, a blues aesthetic, ritual, space, time, tune, and form.1 They emphasize, as well, relating that single event to others and noting how each event is constituted by references and re-...
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The events analyzed in chapter 7 could be viewed exclusively in terms of the musical pa ram e ters preserved on a compact disc and capable of being transcribed into Western notation. Presenting a per for mance thus transcribed might privilege and perhaps encourage the analysis of the sounds in terms similar to those for Western concert music (see Seeger ...
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Appendix: Excerpt from an Interview with Steve Wilson
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Music of the African Diaspora