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What Is This Thing Called Soul: Conversations on Black Culture and Jazz Education

Damani Phillips

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ISBN 10: 1433145650 / ISBN 13: 9781433145650
Published by Peter Lang Publishing Inc
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: What Is This Thing Called Soul: ...

Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


How does academic jazz education impact the Black cultural value of soulfulness and esthetic standards in contemporary jazz music? Through candid conversations with nine of the country's most highly respected jazz practitioners and teachers, What Is This Thing Called Soul explores the potential consequences of forcing the Black musical style of jazz into an academic pedagogical system that is specifically designed to facilitate the practice and pedagogy of European classical music. This work tests the belief that the cultural, emotional and esthetic elements at the very core of jazz's unique identity, along with the music's overt connection to Black culture, are effectively being lost in translation in traversing the divide between academic and non-academic jazz spheres. Each interviewee commands significant respect worldwide in the fields of jazz performance and jazz pedagogy. Noteworthy subjects include: Rufus Reid, Lewis Nash, Nicholas Payton and Wycliffe Gordon-along with the late jazz masters Marcus Belgrave and Phil Woods. Interviews are supplemented by original analysis of the nature and validity of these issues contributed by the author. What Is This Thing Called Soul offers a candid and objective look into pressing issues of race, culture and ethnic value in relation to both jazz music and jazz education. Sensitivity, marginalization and even a fear of offending others has limited open discussion of how the soul of jazz music can be lost in technical boundaries. What Is This Thing Called Soul is the first attempt to directly address such culturally urgent issues in jazz music.

About the Author:

Damani Phillips is a native of Pontiac, Michigan, and currently serves as Associate Professor of Jazz and African-American Studies at the University of Iowa. Phillips has earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from DePaul University and the University of Kentucky in classical saxophone, a second Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. An active performer, teacher and lecturer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the world. He previously served on the faculty of Grinnell College and is actively sought as a guest artist, clinician and adjudicator throughout the country. Phillips has performed with artists/groups such as Lewis Nash, Christian McBride, Wycliffe Gordon, Bobby McFerrin, Marcus Belgrave, Terell Stafford, Hank Jones, Red Holloway and Pat Bianchi, among many others. He has released four albums as a leader: Yaktown Nights (2003), The String Theory (2010), The Reckoning (2012) and Duality (2015).

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