All About Jazz presents a new column under the banner Rethinking Jazz Cultures—a monthly series of interviews by Ian Patterson
with some of the leading thinkers in jazz today. Though New Jazz Studies is in fact 25-years old, there is a burgeoning growth in academic jazz research on a global level. The Rethinking Jazz Cultures monthly column is inspired by the work of the three-year, pan-European Rhythm Changes
project, which in a nutshell, questions jazz and national identities.
What began as a broadly Northern European project has taken wings as the Rhythm Changes: Rethinking Jazz Cultures
conference in Media City UK, Salford demonstrated in April, 2013. Over a hundred jazz academics from 22 different countries presented papers dealing with various aspects of jazz, from Russia to South Africa, from Portugal to North America and many points in between.
The participation in that conference of jazz media, promoters and performers also highlighted the growing relationship between the academic world and the broader creative industries. Not only is jazz music changing, but it is changing in numerous ways related to how it is recorded, presented and consumed. Rethinking Jazz Cultures will get its teeth into these issues and more besides.
Jazz—like national identity—is in constant flux and has the ability to transcend national and geographical borders and to challenge cultural stereotyping. Much of the work of the Rhythm Changes team is about just that, rethinking cultural stereotypes through the prism of jazz. The Rethinking Jazz Cultures interviews at All About Jazz aim to provoke widespread discussion on jazz/national stereotypes and challenge reductive ways of thinking about jazz, who plays it and who listens to it.
The first interview in the Rethinking Jazz Cultures series to be published on October 21st is with Rhythm Changes team leader and Director of Salford Music Research Tony Whyton
, who gives a broad overview of the Rhythm Changes project’s aims and thought-provoking insight into some of the issues in jazz today deserving of a rethink: women in jazz; the question of jazz authenticity; jazz criticism; the visual representation of jazz; jazz and commerce; jazz and sexual identity; jazz icons and the weight of history; jazz history itself.
In future interviews Rethinking Jazz Cultures will pick the brains of some of the world’s most prominent jazz academics, researchers and movers & shakers, on topics such as jazz in the digital age; jazz in the post neo-traditional era; jazz in place, time and culture; jazz dialects; jazz and performances spaces; the impact of jazz education; jazz and cultural memory; jazz mythologies; jazz and cross-pollination, etc.
Rethinking Jazz Cultures is also about knowledge exchange, and invites open debate from anyone who has an opinion to share, a bone of contention, or their own insight into the various issues facing jazz today.
Look for the first interview on October 21st and start rethinking!