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Civic JazzAmerican Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along$
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Gregory Clark

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226218182

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226218359.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2019

Where Jazz Comes From

Where Jazz Comes From

Chapter:
(p.62) Four Where Jazz Comes From
Source:
Civic Jazz
Author(s):

Gregory Clark

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226218359.003.0004

This chapter describes jazz emerging from the place of conflict between individual and collective identities where Burke’s rhetorical and aesthetic theories are located as a well. It is a place of struggle, necessarily cooperative and competitive at once, even “antagonistic” as Ralph Ellison put it as he described the “antagonistic cooperation” he found inherent in jazz. Ensemble jazz is necessarily harmonious, but may be at its best when that harmony is located just short of the music’s disintegration. Jazz is collaborative music made of individual improvisations. What holds it together ultimately is not so much conformity to technical elements as the sense of responsibility they all share to the music itself. That results in a common commitment to make jazz work aesthetically even when contention is inherent within it. Jazz is a music of freedom, but the freedom it expresses is not individual freedom unconstrained. It is a collective freedom enacted in cooperative practice.

Keywords:   Ralph Ellison, cooperation, freedom, responsibility

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