…and now for our Rhythm Changes bags!

Of course, delegates come to our conferences for the intellectual exchange with other researchers. Since Rhythm Changes hosts the largest jazz conferences in the academic field, there is a lot of inspiring banter. But the second best reason to be part of these events are the totally cool collectible retro bags we hand out to the delegates. Keep an eye out for this year’s design, presented here soon!

Rhythm changes bags

Rhythm Changes Jazz Utopia conference: REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Registration is now open for the fourth Rhythm Changes conference, Jazz Utopia, which will take place at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom from 14 to 17 April 2016.

Proposal submission is now closed. Thank you to all whom submitted proposals! Registration is now open (please see Registration for further details).

The conference is hosted by the School of Media and the Faculty of Art, Design and Media, Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, and will be held at our City Centre campus.

Hotel and travel information:

The official conference hotel is Hotel LaTour. The conference rates are as follows:

1 person standard room: £100

2 person standard room: £110

To make a booking at these rates please email Clare Andrews (reservations@hotel-latour.co.uk) and quote Jazz Utopia and the conference ID: 898952.

For information about travel go to: Visit Birmingham

If you have further enquiries, please email the conference team on: jazzutopia@bcu.ac.uk

Newly-inaugurated Improvisation Section of Society for Ethnomusicology

As the “Organizational Liaison” for the newly-inaugurated Improvisation Section of SEM, I am happy to announce that we have firmed up our plans for this year’s SEM meeting in Austin. I’d like to 1) inform you about our event schedule so that you may forward it to the Rhythm Changes list, and 2) to see if there is any way in particular you’d like to get involved with us this year. Whether or not you plan on attending SEM, I hope this information will be of interest to you and the rest of the Rhythm Changes group.

Here is what we have in store:

Thursday, December 3: Jam Session. Our Local Scene Liaison, Dave Wilson, has been working with some local Austin musicians to set up a jam session. It will take place starting at 8pm at the Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA), located a short car or bus ride from the city center. We will plan to meet in the lobby of the SEM conference hotel, the Hilton Austin (500 East Fourth St) at about 7:15, and travel in small groups by Uber or bus, depending on preferences. If you are interested in participating, please send a note to Dave (davewilson@g.ucla.edu) indicating the instrument(s) you plan to bring, as well as whether there are any particular configurations you’d like to play in. This will allow Dave to arrange with local musicians for any necessary equipment and other considerations. The MoHA requests that its address not be made public, so if you do plan on attending, please contact me or Dave for that information, or just meet us in the hotel lobby.

Friday, December 4: Improvisation Section Meeting. 7-9pm, Room 414, Hilton Austin. We will devote the first half of the meeting to section business, while the second half will include very brief Year-in-Review talks by members as well as a roundtable discussion (specific themes and speakers TBD). We will also discuss future plans for coordinating with other regional/national organizations, with an eye towards the 2016 SEM meeting in Washington, DC.

Finally, we will soon be distributing a list of improvisation-related events at SEM to our email list, and will be posting that to our website as well. We also continue to solicit contributions to our shared Zotero bibliography on improvisation (https://www.zotero.org/groups/sem_improv/).

If you or any Rhythm Changes members are not on our email list and would like to be added, please contact our Co-Chair and Communications Officer, Mark Laver (lavermark@grinnell.edu), and/or visit our website, https://sites.google.com/site/semimprov/home.

Hope to see some of you in Austin!

Jazz Utopia 2016 conference, organising committee meeting

The fourth Rhythm Changes conference, Jazz Utopia, will take place at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom from 14 to 17 April 2016. We are delighted to have received well over 100 proposals from around 25 countries for papers, panels, and various creative events. Today we are meeting to evaluate abstracts. If you submitted one, you will hear from us very soon. And, thank you, by the way! Judging by the quality and range of abstracts, it”s going to be a great conference. Here is the organising committee at BCU today, led by Dr Nick Gebhardt (right).

New book, The Pop Festival, from Rhythm Changes, with jazz festival research

We are delighted to announce the publication this summer of The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture (Bloomsbury), edited by George McKay, which features contributions from other Rhythm Changes scholars too: Anne Dvinge, Andrew Dubber, Nick Gebhardt. Altogether there are 14 essays from UK, USA, Europe, Australia (see table of contents below). The book is well-illustrated with archive and contemporary images of festival posters, ephemera, and includes a photo-essay on the British counterculture. Here’s what scholars in the field have been saying about it already: ‘nothing less than an alternate history of popular music since the Second World War’ Prof William Straw; ‘a lively, challenging, accessible and eclectic collection’ Prof Chris Gibson; ‘[in] this wonderful book, McKay assembles a series of masterful essays’ Prof Andy Bennett.

In particular essays by Anne (Detroit Jazz Festival) and George (feat. Beaulieu Jazz Festival, 1956-61) deal with the jazz festival. Here’s a short extract from Anne’s excellent study of Detroit, ‘Musicking in Motor City: reconfiguring urban space at the Detroit Jazz Festival’, which draws on her ethnographic and observational research there.

… the festival is intimately tied to the cultural and economic history and geography of Detroit. It functions as a marker of identity as well as a creator of radical space. Issues of production and economic gain, of tourism economy and commercial interests are central, but so are issues of participation and community that transcends the boundaries of the festival and its locale whilst being rooted in both place and tradition. I outline this history and development through three perspectives: the urban concept city, the role of music and the festival’s connection with both. I finally offer a reading of the festival with Christopher Small’s concept of musicking – music as a verb rather than an object – in mind. That is, a ritual that functions as “a form of organized behaviour in which humans use the language of gesture – to affirm, to explore, and to celebrate their ideas of how the relationships of the cosmos operate, and thus, how they themselves should relate to it and to one another”. Thus, the jazz festival performs a complex vernacular play and ritual that ultimately celebrates and connects Detroit with its past, present and future. Any city festival may achieve a temporary transformation of the urban; here I show how joy takes root annually in Detroit, and I also discus the specific contribution of the musical practice that is jazz to making a particular kind of festival and transformation.



The Pop Festival contents

George McKay

Chapter 1. ‘The pose is a stance’: popular music and the cultural politics of festival in 1950s Britain
George McKay

Chapter 2. Out of sight: the mediation of the music festival
Mark Goodall

Chapter 3. “Let there be rock!” Myth and ideology in the rock festivals of the transatlantic counterculture
Nicholas Gebhardt

Chapter 4. ‘As real as real can get’: race, representation, and rhetoric at Wattstax, 1972
Gina Arnold

Chapter 5. The artist at the music festival: art, performance and hybridity
Rebekka Kill

Chapter 6. Photo-essay: Free festivals, new travellers, and the free party scene in Britain, 1981-1992
Alan Lodge

Chapter 7. Festival bodies: the corporeality of the contemporary music festival scene in Australia
Joanne Cummings and Jacinta Herborn

Chapter 8. The Love Parade: European techno, the EDM festival, and the tragedy in Duisburg
Sean Nye and Ronald Hitzler

Chapter 9. Protestival: global days of action and carnivalised politics at the turn of the millennium
Graham St John

Chapter 10. Alternative playworlds: psytrance festivals, deep play and creative zones of transcendence
Alice Oa??Grady

Chapter 11. No Spectators! The art of participation, from Burning Man to boutique festivals in Britain
Roxanne Robinson

Chapter 12. Musicking in Motor City: reconfiguring urban space at the Detroit Jazz Festival
Anne Dvinge

Chapter 13. Branding, sponsorship, and the music festival
Chris Anderton

Chapter 14. Everybody talk about pop music: Un-Convention as alternative to festival, from DIY music to social change
Andrew Dubber


The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives

The Cultural Politics of Jazz Collectives: This Is Our Music documents the emergence of collective movements in jazz and improvised music. Jazz history is most often portrayed as a site for individual expression and revolves around the celebration of iconic figures, while the networks and collaborations that enable the music to maintain and sustain its cultural status are surprisingly under-investigated. This collection explores the history of musician-led collectives and the ways in which they offer a powerful counter-model for rethinking jazz practices in the post-war period. It includes studies of groups including the New York Musicians Organization, Sweden’s Ett minne för livet, Wonderbrass from South Wales, the contemporary Dutch jazz-hip hop scene, and Austria’s JazzWerkstatt. With an international list of contributors and examples from Europe and the United States, these twelve essays and case studies examine issues of shared aesthetic vision, socioeconomic and political factors, local education, and cultural values among improvising musicians.

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EFCF/JEN Jazz Research Fellowship

The first-ever EFCF/JEN Jazz Research Fellowship is intended to provide opportunities for a serious educator/student/music historian (such as senior researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students) to conduct a directed research Project associated with the archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The project will be allowed up to two years to final completion or the fellowship money must be refunded in full. In addition, a final presentation of the project will take place at the Smithsonian Institution as well as at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference. A written document/summation (non-exclusively) published through JEN is also required to be completed no later than six months after the final presentation. Deadline: March 31 – follow this link to apply https://jazzednet.org/fellowship

Also – all performance/ clinic/ research application for the 7th Annual JEN Conference, January 6-9 in Louisville, KY are due by March 31 to be considered for programming. Follow this link to apply https://jazzednet.org/conferenceapp

We hope to see many of you at the 7th Annual JEN Conference, January 6-9 in Louisville

Monika Herzig

Dr Monika Herzig
Arts Administration, SPEA 433
Indiana University
Jazz Pianist/ Composer

Have YOU joined JEN yet? Catch the buzz!
Jazz Education Network, Secretary
Let’s connect in Louisville, KY at the 7th Annual JEN Conference, January 6-9, 2016

2016 conference, Birmingham: Jazz Utopia call for papers

The fourth Rhythm Changes conference: Jazz Utopia will take place at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom from 14 to 17 April 2016.

Keynote Speakers
Professor Ingrid Monson (Harvard University)
Professor Raymond MacDonald (University of Edinburgh)

We invite paper submissions for Jazz Utopia, a four-day multi-disciplinary conference that brings together leading researchers across the arts and humanities. The event will feature academic papers, panels and poster sessions alongside an exciting programme of concerts delivered in partnership with the Birmingham Conservatoire and Jazzlines.

Jazz has long been a subject for utopian longing and hopes for a better future; it has also been the focus of deeply engrained cultural fears, visions of suffering and dystopian fantasies. In its urgency and presence jazz is now here. As improvisational and transitory, jazz is nowhere. Utopia is nowhere and now here. Jazz is utopia. Or: jazz is utopian desire. Jazz Utopia seeks to critically explore how the idea of utopia has shaped, and continues to shape, debates about jazz. We welcome papers that address the conference theme from multiple perspectives, including cultural studies, musicology, cultural theory, music analysis, jazz history, media studies, and practice-based research. Within the general theme of Jazz Utopia, we have identified three sub-themes. Please clearly identify which theme you are speaking to in your proposal.

Jazz utopia conference logoJazz identities
Claims have always been made for jazz as a certain utopian practice, in which jazz has made possible a musical-social space where different, usually marginal, identities are expressed and confirmed. At the multiracial club, bandstand, or dance-floor race and ethnicity are acknowledged, difference is championed or erased. Musicians have used jazz to step out of their class. The dialogic qualities and queer sounds alike of jazz offer opportunity for the expression of gender and sexuality. New thinking around disability and music reads jazz as a crip-space. Equally, consider the way in which freedom in improvisation has been understood as a liberating utopian practice. Even in its diasporic invention jazz comes from a kind of no-place (ou-topia = no place). In utopia, jazz is the effort to sound another world into being, the only condition of which is that it must be better. Has jazz really been that good?

Inside / outside: jazz and its others
What does jazz mean to its community of insiders and those that approach it from outside? For those who are deeply involved with jazz, whether musicians, critics, scholars, or fans, the genre often provides a utopian space for creative encounters. By definition, the articulation of this space through performance, writing, research and consumption also creates a community of outsiders who may seek ways to engage with the jazz community or observe it from afar. This strand invites papers that address the relationships between jazz and its “others”, defined in relation to music making, criticism, scholarship or reception, whether these interactions are antagonistic or collaborative in tone.

Heritage and archiving
This strand focuses on the different ways in which heritage practices and archival work contribute to the reconfiguration of jazz as a utopian space. Through its commitment to alternative ways of living and being, jazz offers imaginative variations on themes of history and preservation. It creates communities of collectors and music lovers, who refigure jazz as nostalgia and escape, as well as renewal and return. We welcome papers that explore all aspects of archiving practice and cultural heritage and the opportunities and tensions that present themselves for scholars, institutions and practitioners in these fields.

Proposals are invited for:

  • Individual papers(20 minutes) – up to 350 words.
  • Themed paper sessions of three individual (20 minute) papers – 350 words per paper plus 350 words outlining the rationale for the session.
  • Seventy-five minute sessions in innovative formats – up to 1000 words outlining the form and content of the sessions.

Please submit proposals (including a short biography and institutional affiliation) by email in a word document attachment to: jazzutopia@bcu.ac.uk

The deadline for proposals is 1st September 2015; outcomes will be communicated to authors by 1st October 2015. All paper submissions will be considered by the conference committee: Christa Bruckner-Haring (University of Music & Performing Arts, Graz), Nicholas Gebhardt (chair; BCU), George McKay (University of East Anglia), Loes Rusch (University of Amsterdam/BCU), Catherine Tackley (Open University), Walter van de Leur (University of Amsterdam/Amsterdam Conservatory) and Tony Whyton (University of Salford).

The conference builds on the legacy of the Rhythm Changes research project. Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities was funded as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programme, which ran from 2010-2013. The project team continues to develop networking opportunities and champion collaborative research into transnational jazz studies.

Updates on the conference and information about travel and accommodation will be available on this site over the next few months.