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Jazz Consciousness
Music, Race, and Humanity
Paul Austerlitz


2005 • 290 pp. 15 figs. 14 B&W illus. 6 color plates. 6 x 9"
Music / African-American Studies / Latin American & Caribbean Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6782-6

“This book is a valuable read for anyone interested in the intersection of identity, race, and music. Its lucid narrative style is accessible to non-musicians, yet it offers technical and aesthetic detail rich enough for even the most seasoned jazz veteran.”—Paul Schauert, Indiana University, The Journal of Folklore Resarch

Grounded essays on jazz as a unifying and transcendent force.

Drawing on his background as an ethnomusicologist as well as years of experience as an accomplished jazz musician, Paul Austerlitz argues that jazz—and the world-view or consciousness that surrounds it—embodies an aesthetic of inclusiveness, reaching out from its African American base to embrace all of humanity. Fans and musicians have made this claim before, but Austerlitz is the first to provide a scholarly basis for it. He examines jazz in relation to race and national identity in the U.S. and then broadens his scope to consider jazz within the African diaspora and in very different transnational scenes, from the Dominican Republic to Finland.

Based on extensive fieldwork, the book explores jazz in an extraordinary range of contexts. One of the central chapters is devoted to the history of the groundbreaking Latin jazz band of Machito and his Afro-Cubans, who were inspired by the dancing of both Harlemites and Jewish mamboniks, while the final chapter includes an extensive interview with the seminal drummer Milford Graves, one of Austerlitz’s mentors, who holds that music profoundly influences our biorhythms and indeed shapes our thoughts.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Austerlitz has a unique perspective, drawing on primary research in widely disparate contexts and a long personal history of high-level jazz performance.”—Robert Walser, author of Keeping Time

“Accessible and engaging, Jazz Consciousness makes a unique and important contribution to studies of jazz, Latin American music, and diaspora.”Eric Charry, author of Mande Music


Winner of the Society of Ethnomusicology's Alan Merriam Prize (2006)

PAUL AUSTERLITZ is an ethnomusicologist, musician, and author of Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity (1997). He is Assistant Professor of Music and Africana Studies at Gettysburg College.

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:58:28 -0500