Identity, Hybridization and Communities in Flux

This strand examines the way in which jazz can transcend national borders through musical language and style. The project team particularly interested evaluating recent trends in jazz and the way in which projects deliberately seek to fuse music from different parts of Europe (Balkan Jazz, musicians’ collectives etc.).

Research Questions

How does jazz negotiate its functions of identity-affirmation within transnational contexts? How does the adoption of jazz (popular culture) in high culture negotiate the registers of traditionalism and avant-garde? How does jazz culture take account of high culture (parody, subversion)? What forms of hybridization occur in different European contexts?


Kitchen Orchestra – Norwegian collective with Dave Kane, 2006
Kitchen Orchestra – Norwegian collective with Dave Kane, 2006

The Identity, Hybridization and Communities in Flux strand will chart musical trends in different European contexts, examining practices that use jazz as a means of negotiating the registers of traditionalism and the avant-garde, and exploring hybridity and transnational national identity through performance-based projects, data collection and dissemination. The project will explore how jazz negotiates its functions of identity-affirmation, examining jazz practices in a variety of performance and educational settings, from concert halls to underground scenes. In his book, Is Jazz Dead? Or has it moved to a new address (2005), Stuart Nicholson describes the tensions at play within the current international jazz scene. Nicholson suggests that the dominance of the African American jazz canon has had a negative impact on the jazz mainstream, most notably in the US, and that the most interesting innovations are occurring in other transnational settings. Musical hybridity, the tensions between jazz as “popular” music or “art”, and the expressions of global/glocal identities form an important part of jazz scenes today and both inform and reflect the way in which European society is continually changing.