People Get Ready

The Future of Jazz Is Now!

People Get Ready

Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice

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Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 16 photographs, 1 figure Published: May 2013

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Cultural Studies, Music > Jazz

In People Get Ready, musicians, scholars, and journalists write about jazz since 1965, the year that Curtis Mayfield composed the famous civil rights anthem that gives this collection its title. The contributors emphasize how the political consciousness that infused jazz in the 1960s and early 1970s has informed jazz in the years since then. They bring nuance to historical accounts of the avant-garde, the New Thing, Free Jazz, "non-idiomatic" improvisation, fusion, and other forms of jazz that have flourished since the 1960s, and they reveal the contemporary relevance of those musical practices. Many of the participants in the jazz scenes discussed are still active performers. A photographic essay captures some of them in candid moments before performances. Other pieces revise standard accounts of well-known jazz figures, such as Duke Ellington, and lesser-known musicians, including Jeanne Lee; delve into how money, class, space, and economics affect the performance of experimental music; and take up the question of how digital technology influences improvisation. People Get Ready offers a vision for the future of jazz based on an appreciation of the complexity of its past and the abundance of innovation in the present.

. Tamar Barzel, John Brackett, Douglas Ewart, Ajay Heble, Vijay Iyer, Thomas King, Tracy McMullen, Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky, Nicole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, Famoudou Don Moye, Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Eric Porter, Marc Ribot, Matana Roberts, Jaribu Shahid, Julie Dawn Smith, Wadada Leo Smith, Alan Stanbridge, John Szwed, Greg Tate, Scott Thomson, Rob Wallace, Ellen Waterman, Corey Wilkes


“This collection of thought-provoking essays is as much about inclusion, looking at jazz as a genre relevant to all, as it is futurism. Evolved from the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, the publication is like a breath of fresh air in the scholarship pertaining to the music, first and foremost because it looks at it from new angles, and, perhaps more importantly, provides a platform for artists who simply have not been lionised according to their full worth.” — Kevin L Gendre, Jazzwise

“A diverse array of knowledgeable improvisers riffing on the musical practice and community that has inspired them.”  — Alex W. Rodriguez, Ethnomusicology Review

" excellent companion, presenting a diverse range of voices on the various aesthetic, social, and economic contexts bearing on improvised music currently and fleshing out how jazz and its aesthetic corollaries negotiate with these material factors through an ongoing stylistic restlessness and capacity for exchange." — Michael Borshuk, English Studies in Canada

"[T]he clearly situated specificity and well-grounded interdisciplinarity ... make[s] the conversations in People Get Ready so compelling." — A. Scott Currie, Ethnomusicology

"If you thought jazz was dead, think again. As this remarkable collection of essays makes crystal clear, jazz is alive, loud, messy, sprawling, old and wise, born again, and playful. People Get Ready makes an essential contribution to jazz studies, cultural studies, and our increasingly global understanding of modern music. And it demonstrates what discerning readers and listeners already know: that 'hip' is both an adjective and a verb." — Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

"Reader Get Ready! This lovely collection blasts past pessimism and uncertainty to showcase the resonant vibrancy of jazz today. From history to technology and from improvisation to politics, People Get Ready constitutes mandatory reading for anyone with a serious interest in answering Marvin Gaye's perennial question—'What's Going On?'" — Daniel Widener, author of Black Arts West: Culture and Struggle in Postwar Los Angeles


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ajay Heble is Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at University of Guelph in Ontario. He is the author of Landing On The Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice and a coeditor of The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Heble is the founder and artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and a founding editor of the online peer-reviewed journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation.

Rob Wallace is a teacher, writer, and musician. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is the author of Improvisation and the Making of American Literary Modernism. As a percussionist, he can be heard on recordings from the pfMentum and Ambiances Magnétiques record labels.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction. "People Get Ready": The Future of Jazz is Now! / Ajay Heble and Rob Wallace 1

Part I. Beyond Categories: Histories and Mysteries

1. "Now is the Time": Voicing against the Grain of Orality / Aldon Lynn Nielsen 31

2. The Antiquity of the Avant-Garde: A Meditation on a Comment by Duke Ellington / John Szwed 44

3. Listening Trust: The Everyday Politics of George Lewis's "Dream Team" / Julie Dawn Smith and Ellen Waterman 59

4. Jeanne Lee's Voice / Eric Porter 88

5. Kick Out the Jazz! / Rob Wallace 111

Part II. Crisis in New Music? Vanishing Venues and the Future of Experimentation

6. Days of Breads and Roses / Marc Ribot 141

7. Subsidy, Advocacy, Theory: Experimental Music in the Academy, in New York City, and Beyond / Tamar Barzel 153

8. Subsidizing the Experimental Muse:Rereading Ribot / John Brackett 166

9. One Musician Writes about Creative-Music Venues in Toronto / Scott Thomson 175

10. Somewhere There: Contemporary Music, Performance Spaces, and Cultural Policy / Alan Stanbridge 184

Part III. Sound Check

The Jazz Photography of Thomas King 197

Part IV. Get Ready: Jazz Futures

11. Black Jazz in the Digital Age / Greg Tate 217

12. Improvising Digital Culture / DJ Spooky and Vijay Iyer 225

13. Ancient to the Future: Celebrating Forty Years of the AACM / Douglas Ewart, Nicole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, Famoudou Don Moye, Matana Roberts, Jaribu Shahid, Wadada Leo Smith, and Corey Wilkes 244

14. People, Don't Get Ready: Improvisation, Democracy, and Hope / Tracy McMullen 265

Works Cited 281

Contributors 295

Index 301
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5425-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5408-6
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