Jazz on the Line: Improvisation in Practice presents an ethnographic reflection on improvisation as performance, examining how musicians think and act when negotiating improvisational frameworks. This multidisciplinary discussion—guided by a focus on recordings, composition, authenticity, and venues—explores the musical choices made by performers, emphasizing how these choices can be logically understood within the context of controlled, musical outputs.
Throughout the text, the author engages directly with musicians and their varied practices—from canonized dogmas to innovative experimentalism—offering interviews both planned and spontaneous. Musical agency is posited as a tightrope balancing act, signifying the skill and excitement of improvisational performativity and exemplifying the life of a jazzaerialist. With a travel journal approach as a backdrop, Jazz on the Line provides concepts and theories that demystify the creative processes of improvisation.
Chapter 1 Introduction to improvisational performativity / Chapter 2 Recording experience and the ‘natural’ death of improvised music / Chapter 3 Alexander von Schlippenbach and the question of tabula rasa / Chapter 4 Between the jazu kissa and the underground / Chapter 5 Cultural factories and the contemporary production line
The field of New Jazz Studies has emerged out of traditional modes of musicological inquiry, with an increasing number of scholars examining jazz as a discursive cultural practice. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, New Jazz Studies has begun to promote a multiplicity of canons, exploring the overlapping and exchanges between different countries and cultural groups and challenging existing modes of understanding. Transnational Studies in Jazz presents cross-disciplinary and international perspectives on the relationship between jazz and its social, political, and cultural contexts.
While supporting ongoing research on American themes, artists and scenes, Transnational Studies in Jazz also seeks to develop understandings of jazz in different contexts, approaching the American influence - as well as the rejection of America - through analysis of international discourses and local scenes. Through US, UK and international contributors, jazz would be understood not only as a sonic form or subject of artistic expression and analysis but also as a key social and political agent in the development and exchange of culture.