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The jazz storyteller: Improvisers’ perspectives on music and narrative

Bjerstedt, Sven LU (2015) In Jazz Research Journal 9(1). p.37-61
Abstract
The term ‘storytelling’ has a long history of prominence in descriptive and prescriptive talk about jazz improvisation. The main aim of this article is to point out that the ways in which jazz musicians themselves employ the ‘storytelling’ metaphor with reference to jazz improvisation display several important perspectives on perennial and fundamental prob- lems in the field of musical narrativity and offer very efficient ways of dealing with these issues. The empirical interview study summarized in this article constitutes an attempt to decipher the full potential of this intermedial conceptual loan, jazz improvisation as story- telling, based on how it is used by a number of highly accomplished Swedish jazz musi- cians. From a... (More)
The term ‘storytelling’ has a long history of prominence in descriptive and prescriptive talk about jazz improvisation. The main aim of this article is to point out that the ways in which jazz musicians themselves employ the ‘storytelling’ metaphor with reference to jazz improvisation display several important perspectives on perennial and fundamental prob- lems in the field of musical narrativity and offer very efficient ways of dealing with these issues. The empirical interview study summarized in this article constitutes an attempt to decipher the full potential of this intermedial conceptual loan, jazz improvisation as story- telling, based on how it is used by a number of highly accomplished Swedish jazz musi- cians. From a theoretical point of view, there are severe difficulties involved in viewing any music as narrative. The aim of the empirical study is to provide means for understand- ing jazz musicians’ conceptualizations of their art form; to investigate how they deal with such difficulties. The interviewees favour a metaphorical rather than literal interpretation of the concept of storytelling: for instance, as communication, expression, mission or vision. Their understanding of storytelling tends to focus on the how—rather than the what—of narrative. In their view, the narrative potential of jazz is connected in significant ways to the music’s ontological status as situated activity, including perspectives that concern the con- struction of musical meaning through narrativization of intra-musical patterns, as well as the significance of cultural competence. In sum, jazz practitioners’ understanding of jazz ‘storytelling’ emerges as an important way of dealing with issues of meaning in mus (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
intermedial metaphor, jazz improvisation, narrativization, storytelling
categories
Higher Education
in
Jazz Research Journal
volume
9
issue
1
pages
37 - 61
publisher
Equinox
external identifiers
  • wos:000367252100003
ISSN
1753-8645
DOI
10.1558/jazz.v9i1.21502
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8504f679-94b3-4260-bb88-57758aa90a14 (old id 8082861)
date added to LUP
2015-10-22 13:43:42
date last changed
2016-04-15 15:34:23
@article{8504f679-94b3-4260-bb88-57758aa90a14,
  abstract     = {The term ‘storytelling’ has a long history of prominence in descriptive and prescriptive talk about jazz improvisation. The main aim of this article is to point out that the ways in which jazz musicians themselves employ the ‘storytelling’ metaphor with reference to jazz improvisation display several important perspectives on perennial and fundamental prob- lems in the field of musical narrativity and offer very efficient ways of dealing with these issues. The empirical interview study summarized in this article constitutes an attempt to decipher the full potential of this intermedial conceptual loan, jazz improvisation as story- telling, based on how it is used by a number of highly accomplished Swedish jazz musi- cians. From a theoretical point of view, there are severe difficulties involved in viewing any music as narrative. The aim of the empirical study is to provide means for understand- ing jazz musicians’ conceptualizations of their art form; to investigate how they deal with such difficulties. The interviewees favour a metaphorical rather than literal interpretation of the concept of storytelling: for instance, as communication, expression, mission or vision. Their understanding of storytelling tends to focus on the how—rather than the what—of narrative. In their view, the narrative potential of jazz is connected in significant ways to the music’s ontological status as situated activity, including perspectives that concern the con- struction of musical meaning through narrativization of intra-musical patterns, as well as the significance of cultural competence. In sum, jazz practitioners’ understanding of jazz ‘storytelling’ emerges as an important way of dealing with issues of meaning in mus},
  author       = {Bjerstedt, Sven},
  issn         = {1753-8645},
  keyword      = {intermedial metaphor,jazz improvisation,narrativization,storytelling},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {37--61},
  publisher    = {Equinox},
  series       = {Jazz Research Journal},
  title        = {The jazz storyteller: Improvisers’ perspectives on music and narrative},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/jazz.v9i1.21502},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2015},
}