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The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue (Music Culture) [Paperback]

By Daniel Fischlin (Editor), Ajay Heble (Editor) & Ingrid Monson (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 30.76  
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Item Number 100018  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   448
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 2004
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819566829  
EAN  9780819566829  

Availability  1 units.
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Item Description...
A breakthrough book in the emergent fields of improvisation and cultural theory, The Other Side of Nowhere conveys the spirit and energy of an experimental celebration. The volume is divided into four sections: writings of musicians about improvising; examinations of inter- and cross-cultural dialogue; discussions of social practice and identity; and essays about collaborative dissonance. The 17 essays present jazz improvisation as a cultural practice with far-reaching ramifications. Music is treated not merely as an artistic phenomenon, but as a social force with the power to effect substantial change among people of marginalized races, genders, sexualities and ethnicities. The collection argues that there is a distinctive relationship between the emergence of free jazz, the desire for social justice and activist practices. The Other Side of Nowhere is a groundbreaking book that offers multiple perspectives on the art of jazz improvisation--it will inspire readers to create, collaborate and dissent.

CONTRIBUTORS: John Corbett, Krin Gabbard, Michael Jarrett, George E. Lewis, Nathaniel Mackey, Mark Anthony Neal, Pauline Oliveros, Eddie Prevost, Dana Reason, Michael Snow and Sherrie Tucker.

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More About Daniel Fischlin, Ajay Heble & Ingrid Monson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ingrid Monson is Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music, supported by the Time Warner Endowment at Harvard University, where she holds a joint appointment in the departments of Music and African and African American Studies.

Ingrid Monson has an academic affiliation as follows - Harvard University Ingrid Monson, Harvard University, USA Ingrid Monso.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General   [16405  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Jazz   [617  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
On the other hand...  Nov 28, 2007
I agree with the first reviewer that the academic discourse around jazz gets very obscure, but I have to say that nothing is more obscure to the larger reading audience than musical notation and harmonic theory. You have to ask yourself why Prof. Monson, a very fine musician, would choose to edit a book on jazz improv that does not rely on music theory. My approach to teaching this subject - an approach that I share with other academics - is that music theory is an exclusive language that cuts all non-musicians out of the discourse. I love music theory, but I don't use it, for this and for other reasons, in teaching African American music history.

After having editorialized (my apologies), I need to say that the essays in this book represent the current thinking on jazz improv. It is an area of the scholarship that needs to continue to be criticized and refined, but it hits the high points for sure.
Requires a little patience  Apr 23, 2005
Nowadays a lot of books on jazz/improv are like this one, pitched at an academic audience in the cultural-studies area rather than engaging in serious musicology. There are musicians among contributors but the amount of actual discussion of music (rather than of cultural symbolism of the act of improvisation) is pretty thin, & indeed (except for a few bars' transcription of a Steve Coleman piece at one point) there's no music printed in the book at all. Some of the pieces are too windy to be of much use (above all, the editors' incredibly long & repetitive preface), & some are just rather tangential (a piece on Marlon Brando as "jazz actor"), but if you're a patient sort you can winkle out some useful material. Trombonist George Lewis writes ponderously, but his piece (a reprint of his earlier essay "Improvised Music after 1950" plus a brief coda to bring it up to date) contains a well-aimed polemic concerning the way that "new music" borrows from jazz while at the same time denigrating it subtly or bluntly (John Cage's inane comments on jazz come in for careful dissection). Pauline Oliveros' autobiographical piece "Harmonic Anatomy: Women in Improvisation" is also strong; & there's an excellent collage of interviews with jazz producers (Macero, Avakian, Weinstock, Keepnews, &c) by Michael Jarrett. & there are various other good things (John Corbett's final piece is worthwhile, though Nathaniel Mackey's contribution is somewhat disappointing: a useful introduction but then the rest of it is reprinted extracts from his fiction).

The basic thesis of the book (which runs through essays by different authors) is that improvised music's importance is in its "community building"--as a form of utopianism in action. My feelings about this idea are mixed: on the one hand the community around jazz (of fans, musicians, critics, presenters, &c) is indeed one of its appeals; on the other often this tempts jazz/improv fans to excesses of pride & denigration of other forms of music (witness the silly comments of people like Eddie Prevost about the "authoritarian", "hierarchical" nature of pop music or classical music). & the emphasis on community building in the book can sometimes seem to get things backwards: as if the importance of the music weren't the music at all but the forms of community it gives rise to. As the thinness of musicological description (or even more nontechnical description) in the book suggests, this can mean a curious bypassing of the actual music that led people to join the jazz/improv community in the first place.

Not really an essential purchase unless you're doing academic work in the field.

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