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Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies and The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue.

Higgins, Niko

What is the "New Jazz Studies?" Uptown Conversations and The Other Side of Nowhere contain a diverse array of scholarship that approaches the broad fields of jazz studies and musical improvisation through various perspectives and methodologies. Krin Gabbard's two volume collection, Representing Jazz and Jazz Among the Discourses, is the clear precedent for these new anthologies. Uptown Conversations and The Other Side of Nowhere continue this trajectory by moving away from jazz as a static object to be stylistically described, explained, and celebrated through the heroic and larger-than-life individual towards an understanding of jazz as a music in continual dialogue with the historical, social, political, racial, and gendered processes governing its creation. Ultimately, there are multiple ways of thinking and writing about music. However, both of these texts ignite important and much-needed debates over the future of this decidedly interdisciplinary field. Gabbard's aggressive programmatic statement from Jazz Among the Discourses still holds true for these two volumes: "jazz scholarship now faces two significant choices: it may continue developing and protecting its canon, or it may take the consequences of letting in some fresh, if chilling, air." Uptown Conversations and The Other Side of Nowhere together will no doubt keep that fresh, cold air blowing.



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Current Musicology

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Academic Units
Columbia University
Published Here
March 30, 2015