By Iain Anderson
This Is Our Music, declared saxophonist Ornette Coleman's 1960 album name. yet whose song was once it? At a number of instances in the course of the Fifties and Sixties, musicians, critics, lovers, politicians, and marketers claimed jazz as a countrywide paintings shape, an Afrocentric race song, an extension of modernist innovation in different genres, a track of mass cognizance, and the guard of a cultural elite. This unique and provocative booklet explores who makes judgements concerning the worth of a cultural shape and on what foundation, taking as its instance the effect of Nineteen Sixties unfastened improvisation at the altering prestige of jazz.
By interpreting the creation, presentation, and reception of experimental song by means of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, and others, Iain Anderson lines the unusual, unforeseen, and from time to time deeply ironic intersections among loose jazz, avant-garde inventive pursuits, Sixties politics, and patronage networks. Anderson emphasizes loose improvisation's huge, immense impression on jazz music's institutional status, regardless of ongoing resistance from a few of its largest beneficiaries. He concludes that makes an attempt by means of African American artists and intellectuals to outline a spot for themselves in American lifestyles, structural alterations within the song undefined, and the increase of nonprofit sponsorship portended an important transformation of verified cultural criteria. while, unfastened improvisation's turning out to be status depended partly upon conventional intellectual standards: more and more esoteric kinds, altering venues and viewers habit, eu sanction, withdrawal from undefined, and the professionalization of feedback. hence jazz music's performers and supporters--and very likely these in different arts--have either challenged and accommodated themselves to an ongoing means of cultural stratification.
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Additional resources for This Is Our Music: Free Jazz, the Sixties, and American Culture
The State Department, CIA-funded foundations, and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) championed abstract expressionism much as the government presented jazz, as the evidence and embodiment of a superior political and economic system. MOMA’s founding director, Alfred H. , argued that only a liberal democracy allowed avant-garde artists the freedom to pursue any path they chose. American painters generated uncensored, controversial works that spoke frankly about the anxieties of the age. 82 This emphasis on freedom in art as a mirror image of American society complemented the official view of jazz.
Eastern Europe’s entire concept of jazz comes from Willis Conover,’’ marveled promoter George Wein after one visit to the continent. 40 The State Department’s music programming policies raise some important questions about the shifting reception of jazz in the United States. ’’ How did jazz dissociate itself from protest and rebellion and remake itself in the image of the American way? The answers center around changes in the music’s production, presentation, and reception at home by performers, critics, audiences, and entrepreneurs.
37 Esman and Margolis contended that the music experienced weaker resistance in Europe on account of the continent’s less Puritanical cultures. Yet the terms on which Europeans sometimes embraced jazz also concerned proponents of its use abroad. ’’ This tendency resulted from each of the writers’ close association with the primitivist movement in European art, a fascination with exotic, supposedly natural and uncivilized African forms that promised to regenerate the decadent western tradition. Although primitivism had helped win early consideration and acceptance for jazz on the continent, it threatened to stall the government’s ability to capitalize upon the music’s popularity abroad.
This Is Our Music: Free Jazz, the Sixties, and American Culture by Iain Anderson