Rhythm Changes

Another Place? Why Jazz Festivals Matter

Event Date: 
Sun, 21/11/2010 - 15:00 to 16:30
Venue: 
Barbican Centre, London
Location: 
Fountain Room
External Website Address: 

The Rhythm Changes team and the London Jazz Festival hosted an international panel on the value of jazz festivals in November 2010.  This public forum featured contributions from jazz festival organisers and researchers from the Rhythm Changes team and explored the critical tensions between global and local jazz scenes, and the politics of place in festival programming today.  To hear an audio file of the event click on the external web address above. 

CMPCP/IMR Seminar, ''Music from the hybridies': jazz as national and trans-national practice'

Event Date: 
Fri, 03/06/2011 - 18:00 to 19:30
Venue: 
Chancellor's Hall, Senate House
Location: 
University of London
External Website Address: 

Taking its title from an album by the Norwegian group Farmer's Market, this seminar examines the concept of national sound in jazz and the ways in which European jazz practice has previously been understood as a vehicle for asserting national identity. Drawing on performance examples from a range of European musicians, from Jan Gabarek to John Tchicai, Django Bates to Han Bennink, I suggest that European jazz practice works more effectively as a model for challenging cultural stereotypes and geographical boundaries than as an embodiment of national sound. Jazz is a practice that developed in Europe both through transatlantic influences and exchanges, so is ideally placed to explore wider issues surrounding identity and inheritance, enabling unique perspectives on how culture is exchanged, adopted and transformed. The session draws on research questions from the HERA-funded 'Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities' project, and explores the way in which jazz practice feeds into bigger questions of politics, cultural identity and the changing Europe today.

Kitchen Orchestra/Pulse New Media Study

Event Date: 
Sun, 08/05/2011 - 10:00 to Fri, 13/05/2011 - 23:00
Venue: 
Tou Scene
Location: 
Stavanger
External Website Address: 

Over the next week, several of the Rhythm Changes team members will be working together on a web and performance project. Pulse is a multimedia production based on a commissioned work by composers John Lilja and Dag Egil Njaa, in collaboration with the two Japanese multimedia artists Nagato and Suzuki. The project comprises structures based on pulse: pulse as in the smallest building block of sound, rhythm, human interaction, biology. In short, pulse in everything. With fearless creative zeal and untiring enthusiasm, the improvisational contemporary Kitchen Orchestra is a force to be reckoned with on the Stavanger cultural circuit. By bringing together local artists and international musicians and composers on unique projects, the musical envelope is constantly being pushed. The bedrock of performers originates from all strata of the town’s music scene.

Leading up to the performance of Pulse, Rhythm Changes researcher Andrew Dubber will be live-blogging, using video and other online tools to provide an insight into the process and the thinking behind that event.

This project feeds directly into the Rhythm Changes research questions concerning trans-national practice, the construction of community and the ways in which jazz is mediated in new media environments.

Follow the project at http://kitchenorchestra.tumblr.com

Metropolis at the CMPCP conference

Event Date: 
Thu, 14/07/2011 - 10:00 to Sun, 17/07/2011 - 10:00
Venue: 
University of Cambridge
Location: 
Cambridge, UK
External Website Address: 

Metropolis is a highly creative group working at the forefront of the 'progressive improvised jazz' movement in the UK.  The group features Rhythm Changes team members Dr Petter Frost Fadnes and Nick Katuszonek as well as bassist Colin Sutton and the Perrier Award winner, pianist Dr Matthew Bourne.  The group has been invited perform at the AHRC's Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice Conference (CMPCP) in July.  The performance will be followed by a plenary session involving members of the band that will examine concepts of creativity, improvised practice and national sound.  Metropolis will also be joined by the award-winning Rhythm Changes post-doctoral researcher and saxophonist Dr Christophe de Bezenac.

Rhythm Changes at the Maijazz Festival

Event Date: 
Thu, 12/05/2011 - 22:00 to Sat, 14/05/2011 - 22:00
Venue: 
Tou Scene
Location: 
Stavanger

The Rhythm Changes team will be participating in the Maijazz Festival in Stavanger.  Andrew Dubber will be working on a new media project on jazz collectives, working alongside Dr Petter Frost Fadnes and the Kitchen Orchestra.  There will also be a Rhythm Changes symposium on Saturday 14 May featuring Andrew Dubber in conversation with the Punkt festival founder and live sampling artist Jan Bang.

Rhythm Changes II: Rethinking Jazz Cultures Conference

Event Date: 
Thu, 11/04/2013 - 17:00 to Sun, 14/04/2013 - 15:00
Venue: 
University of Salford
Location: 
Media City UK, Salford Quays

Rhythm Changes II: Rethinking Jazz Cultures 11-14 April 2013, Media City UK/University of Salford

An international conference hosted by the Rhythm Changes research project at the University of Salford.

Keynote Speakers

E. Taylor Atkins, Northern Illinois University

David Ake, University of Nevada, Reno

Conference outline

‘From its beginnings, jazz has presented a somewhat contradictory social world: Jazz musicians have worked diligently to tear down old boundaries, but they have just as resolutely constructed new ones; jazz provided one of the first locations of successful interracial cooperation in America, yet it has also served to perpetuate negative stereotypes and to incite racial unrest.’ David Ake, Jazz Cultures, 2

‘Practically all jazz discourse rests on the premise of American exceptionalism, the dogmatic conviction that “democracy, individualism, and social mobility, civil society, free enterprise, ingenuity and inventiveness, and material well-being” are peculiarly American traits. Rather than viewing frontier expansion, settler colonialism, slavery, immigration, industrialization, and cultural hybridization as transnational processes, many assume they are uniquely American, denying possible analogies to Australia, Brazil, Russia, and elsewhere.’ E. Taylor Atkins, Jazz Planet, xiii

Rethinking Jazz Cultures provides an opportunity to explore a number of critical questions bound up with jazz and the dynamics of culture, from Americanisation to the politics of migration and race, from the impact of globalisation and the hybridisation of musical styles to the creation of social institutions and distinct communities, from jazz’s shifting aesthetic status from popular to canonical ‘art’ music. Jazz continues to play a complex role in the cultural life of nations worldwide, shaping scenes, constructing communities and cultural values; the music feeds into historical narratives that are marked by conflict and contradiction but the role the music plays in everyday life is rarely understood. Whilst jazz has developed in a range of national settings through different influences and interactions, as evidenced in the first Rhythm Changes Conference in Amsterdam 2011, the music is also a transgressor of the idea of nation.

Rethinking Jazz Cultures, therefore, aims to explore wider issues surrounding identity and inheritance, enabling unique perspectives on how culture is exchanged, adopted and transformed. Rethinking Jazz Cultures is a three day multi-disciplinary conference that brings together leading researchers in the fields of jazz studies, media and cultural studies, history and American studies. The event will take place at the University of Salford’s prestigious new building at Media City UK, Salford Quays, commencing with a reception on Thursday 11 April 2013. The Conference committee invites papers and panel proposals that feed directly into the Conference theme and is interested in featuring perspectives from a range of international contexts.

The Conference committee welcomes individual papers and proposals for panels and roundtable discussions. For individual papers, abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted. Panels and roundtable proposals should include a session overview, participant biographies and description of individual contributions. Abstracts and proposals (as well as event queries) should be sent to Professor Tony Whyton (t.whyton@salford.ac.uk) by 5 November 2012. Further event details will be published on the Rhythm Changes website over the coming weeks. Visit: www.rhythmchanges.net

Keynote speaker biographies

E. Taylor Atkins is Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History at Northern Illinois University, USA. He is the author of Primitive Selves: Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910-1945 (University of California Press, 2010) and Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan (Duke University Press, 2001; winner of the 2003 John Whitney Hall Prize), and editor of Jazz Planet (University Press of Mississippi, 2003). In addition to the “Popular Culture” chapter in A Companion to Japanese History (ed. William Tsutsui, Blackwell, 2007), he has published articles in Journal of Asian Studies, American Music, positions, and Japanese Studies.

David Ake is Director of the School of the Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno (USA). His publications include Jazz Cultures (2002), Jazz Matters: Sound, Place, and Time since Bebop (2010) and the essay collection Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries (co-edited with Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Daniel Goldmark, 2012), all for the University of California Press. An active pianist and composer, Ake has performed and recorded alongside many of today’s outstanding improvisers.

Rhythm Changes panel at the Current Issues in European Cultural Studies Conference

Event Date: 
Wed, 15/06/2011 - 10:00 to Fri, 17/06/2011 - 10:00
Venue: 
Louis de Geer
Location: 
Norrköping, Sweden
Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities
Today, the history of jazz is considered one of conflict and contestation; jazz is a critical discourse that has changed and adapted over time, feeding into issues of race, gender, class, identity and place.  Since the 1990s, New Jazz Studies scholars have drawn attention to the political or ideological backdrop in which jazz has been created and, most importantly, their methods have given rise to voices that have been previously excluded from jazz history, from women to the musicians themselves.  Today, the New Jazz Studies encapsulates a vast array of critical positions and yet, despite this plurality, the engagement with jazz outside of American contexts has been limited.  Ironically, in dispelling several mythologies about jazz, the New Jazz Studies has, arguably, failed to engage with the global spread of jazz and the inter-cultural exchanges that have occurred in the music since its inception. This panel engages with the challenges of rethinking the concepts and practices commonly identified with jazz as a result of these larger inter-cultural processes.
Rhythm Changes presenters: Dr Nicholas Gebhardt, Christa Bruckner Haring and Dr Tony Whyton.

Rhythm Changes: Jazz and National Identities Conference

Event Date: 
Thu, 01/09/2011 - 17:00 to Sun, 04/09/2011 - 17:00
Venue: 
Amsterdam Conservatorium
Location: 
Amsterdam
External Website Address: 

The first Rhythm Changes Conference will take place in September 2011 and will be hosted in partnership with the Conservatory of Amsterdam. The three-day Conference will explore the theme of ‘Jazz and National Identities’ and will include presentations from an international line up of jazz researchers.

Thinking with Jazz Symposium

Event Date: 
Fri, 21/09/2012 - 11:00 to 19:30
Venue: 
LICA Building, Lancaster University
Location: 
Lancaster, United Kingdom

Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities (Rhythm Changes)

Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities is a three-year transnational interdisciplinary research project which examines the inherited traditions and practices of European jazz cultures in five countries, developing new insights into cultural exchanges and dynamics between different countries, groups and related media. Five work packages will tie directly into the theme of Cultural Dynamics: Inheritance and Identity, and will serve to develop a broader understanding of the relationship between canonicity,tradition and myth, community and identity.
In moving beyond the state-of-the art, Rhythm Changes will:

Investigate the concepts of national thought and identity in jazz using international comparison.
 
Collate jazz-related data, including relevant research, performance projects, interviews, and cultural policies, from five key countries in Europe, and from various dis- ciplines, and will move from specialist analysis towards interdisciplinary and transnational synthesis.
 
Study national identities, representations and stereotypes in jazz, and how the rhetoric of national character thematises the situatedness of nations amidst their neighbours as a formative experience.
 
Examine the interaction between cultural memory, arts and tourism by showing how jazz venues and festivals preserve, reflect and inform a sense of cultural memory.
 
Further pan-European humanities research by establishing networks that encourage transnational co-operation, collaborations and the work of early career researchers
Implement a programme of targeted dissemination activities which communicate findings to a transnational audience of relevant policy makers, academia and the public.
 
A core team of 13 researchers, comprising of leading experts in the research fields of Musicology, Cultural Studies, American Studies, New Media and Music Industries, Improvisation and Performance Practice, will employ a variety of methodologies to deliver a range of high impact outputs which will transform the landscape of European jazz research.

Rhythm Changes

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