This chapter returns to the civic resonance of Kenneth Burke’s experiential conception of aesthetic form to use jazz to explain ways that individuals and individualists find themselves in situations where in the midst of their efforts to make their own separate ways to happiness suddenly, in William James’s phrase, “the outlines of confining selfhood melt down.” These are moments of what Albert Murray called, “elastic individuality” when individual trajectories combine in something so surprising and immensely satisfying that people change. These moments are described in reference to modal jazz and the educational project of the Lenox School of Jazz, musical moments when this music models a kind of citizenship that might make civic life in a democratic culture happier and more satisfying.
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