Mark your calendars! We are excited to welcome Prof Gabriel Solis from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on November 17 from 4.30-6pm in Goodspeed 205. He will be presenting his latest research entitled “‘It’s Always in Flux, Always Fleeting’: Hip-Jazz, Afrofuturism, and the Challenge of Understanding Popular Music Beyond the Bounds of Genre.” Please find the abstract below. A pay-your-way dinner for will follow at a local restaurant; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend the dinner.
Please circulate this announcement widely; all are welcome and refreshments will be served.
“‘It’s Always in Flux, Always Fleeting’: Hip-Jazz, Afrofuturism, and the Challenge of Understanding Popular Music Beyond the Bounds of Genre.”
Jazz has been in dialogue with other forms of African American popular music for virtually all of its history, and its audiences have generally listened to it alongside those other forms. Nonetheless, jazz has also regularly separated itself from the rest of the popular tradition, a gesture of aesthetic distinction that has been supported by a purist strain in music criticism and fandom. This talk looks at this enduring issue through the work of three Los Angeles-based artists who draw on the legacy of hip hop, fusion jazz, and the jazz avant garde of the 1970s: Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus, and Robert Glasper. Drawing on theories from ethnomusicology, Afro-futurism, and science and technology studies, I ask what we might learn about genre in African American music traditions and the stakes of distinction for musicians today. I turn briefly at the end to a discussion of contemporary approaches to genre analysis in the field of Digital Humanities, asking how might we leverage emerging methodologies to bring research and practice closer together in jazz studies and how the music might direct us toward better methodologies in the new digital scholarship.