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The Other Side of Nowhere
Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue
Daniel Fischlin, ed.; Ajay Heble, ed.; Ingrid Monson, intro.


2004 • 462 pp. 3 illus. 6 x 9"
Music / Cultural Studies

$34.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6682-9

“Academic theorizing about jazz has traditionally lagged far behind the inspired playing of it with the field of jazz writing dominated by magazine journalists and social commentators. This has often... [continued in Reviews below]”—Alan Rice, Journal of American Studies

Scholars, composers and performers write about the art of jazz improvisation.

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 Prévost, Dana Reason, Michael Snow and Sherrie Tucker.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Academic theorizing about jazz has traditionally lagged far behind the inspired playing of it with the field of jazz writing dominated by magazine journalists and social commentators. This has often been a relief, making the literature of jazz unburdened by the obfusacatory language and petty point-scoring of the academic establishment. Since 1990 some excellent jazz academicians have emerged such as Krin Gabbard, Graham Lock, Ingrid Monson, Nathaniel Mackey, Paul Berliner, and George E. Lewis, who incorporate the best of the jazz writing tradition whilst riffing a new discourse using the resources of cultural theory. Some of them are represented here in this excellent comprehensive collection of writings about the politics and aesthetics of improvisation.”—Alan Rice, Journal of American Studies

The Other Side of Nowhere is an important and wide-ranging contribution to the growing fields of improvisation studies and cultural theory. It provides a fascinating array of contributions from musicians, artists, scholars, critics and promoters. The book’s in-depth treatment of an often marginalized cultural and musical form and its timely interdisciplinary approach to its subject make it extremely significant.” —David Borgo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Music, University of California at San Diego

“This innovative and exciting collection, addressing free jazz from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, will consolidate the emerging field of improvisation studies. The experimental figures of free improvised music inform the writing itself, as the authors explore the musical, social and philosophical implications of its creative history.”—Georgina Born, author of Rationalizing Culture and editor of Western Music and Its Others

“This is an impressively wide-ranging collection that is sure to engage and provoke. Fischlin and Heble have elicited some valuable insights about improvisation and its complex relationship with the histories of race, gender and class.”—Graham Lock, author of Blutopia and Forces in Motion

DANIEL FISCHLIN and AJAY HEBLE are both Professors in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in Canada. INGRID MONSON is Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University.

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:58:25 -0500