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Jazz Worlds/World Jazz

Many regard jazz as the soundtrack of America, born and raised in its cities and echoing throughout its tumultuous century of progress. So when Ernest Hemingway wrote about seeing jazz in 1920s Paris, and when British colonial officials danced to jazz in the clubs of Calcutta in the waning years of the Raj, how, exactly, had it gotten there? Jazz Worlds/World Jazz aims to answer these questions and more, bringing together voices from countries as far flung as Azerbaijan, Armenia, and India to show that the story of jazz is not trapped in American history books but alive in global modernity.
Monumental in scope, this book explores the relationship between jazz and culture and how they influence each other across a range of themes and settings. Contributors offer an analysis of the social meaning of jazz in Iran, a look at the genesis of Ethiopian jazz and at Indian fusion, and chapters on jazz diplomacy, Balkan swing, and that French export par excellence: Django Reinhardt. Altogether the contributors approach jazz—in these global iterations—through the themes that have always characterized it at home: place, history, mobility, media, and race. The result is a first-of-its-kind map of jazz around the globe that pays tribute to the players who have given the form its seemingly infinite possibilities. 

552 pages | 1 compact disc, 42 halftones, 11 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Ethnomusicology, General Music


"Jazz Worlds/World Jazz is valuable for the critical lens that the assembled ethnomusicologists bring to bear on local music practices, which targets issues of race/ethnicity, nationalism, gender/sexuality, identity politics, mediation, globalization/indigenization, historiography, canonization, socioeconomics, and the like. . . . The accompanying compact disc of musical examples, referred to in the text, further illustrates and clarifies the discourse"


"Jazz Worlds/World Jazz is a fine introduction to different ways of looking at and learning to play jazz. And it certainly provides an alternate narrative to the clichéd story of the music migrating up the river from New Orleans to points north and then suddenly and miraculously easily disseminating all over the world."

Music Works

“In this book, the authors have gone much further than simply recognizing that jazz is located differently in cultures outside of the United States; they have transformed our understanding of those cultures and what jazz has meant to and for the people who inhabit them. In seeking to locate jazz in the world, and to map the multiple worlds of jazz, this book manages to redefine the possibilities and politics of the field. This is a major achievement for jazz scholarship.”

Nicholas Gebhardt, author of Going for Jazz

Jazz Worlds/World Jazz is a significant contribution to jazz studies—the essays here are provocative, perceptive, and original. As a whole, the book presents a critically informed and broadly theorized set of perspectives on jazz (and music) around the world, offering a nuanced and balanced perspective to understanding how global jazz practices have taken shape over the years.”

Charles Hiroshi Garrett, editor in chief of The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition

Table of Contents

Foreword: Who Is Jazz?
George E. Lewis


Sound Examples on the Accompanying CD

Goffredo Plastino and Philip V. Bohlman

Part I Place

1 Jazz and the Politics of Home in Scandinavia
Fabian Holt

2 Swinging in Balkan Mode: On the Innovative Approach of Milcho Leviev
Claire Levy

3 Azerbaijani Mugham Jazz
Inna Naroditskaya

4 Jazz and Its Social Meanings in Iran: From Cultural Colonialism to the Universal
Laudan Nooshin

Part II History

5 Jazz at the Edge of Empire
Philip V. Bohlman

6 That Gypsy in France: Django Reinhardt’s Occupation Blouze
Andy Fry

7 Jazz, Race, and Politics in Colonial Portugal: Discourses and Representations
Pedro Roxo and Salwa El- Shawan Castelo-Branco

Part III Media

8 Traveling Music: Mulatu Astatke and the Genesis of Ethiopian Jazz
Kay Kaufman Shelemay

9 The Medium Is the Message? Jazz Diplomacy and the Democratic Imagination
Richard C. Jankowsky

10 Musical Echoes: Diasporic Listening and the Creation of a World of South African Jazz
Carol Ann Muller

Part IV Globalization/Indigenization

11 Jazz Napoletano: A Passion for Improvisation
Goffredo Plastino

12 In Search of Compatible Virtuosities: Floating Point and Fusion in India
Niko Higgins

13 Improvising Diasporan Identities: Armenian Jazz
Anahid Kassabian

Part V Race

14 Culture, Commodity, Palimpsest: Locating Jazz in the World
Travis A. Jackson

15 A World(ly) Jazz Autonomy: Hazel Scott and Hollywood’s Racial-Musical Matrix
Kristin McGee

16 Black Music’s Body Politics
Ronald Radano

Epilogue: Jazz: Music of the Multitude?
Richard Middleton

Lyrics and Translations


Association for Recorded Sound Collections: Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence

American Musicological Society: Ruth A. Solie Award

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