Jazz: A World Map

by Tom Hull

In the limited imagination of American consumers world music and jazz
have one thing in common: they are exotic. World music can only be
defined negatively: it is music that strikes us as foreign. Perhaps
it has words in a language few if any of us understand. Or maybe it
is wordless, but built around a rhythm or harmonic sense that we don't
readily grasp. World music is exotic in the sense of out of place.
But increasingly we live in a world with a jumbled up sense of place.
As people move around we find there music being made here, and ours
being made there, and reflections of each in the other.

Jazz has at least two dimensions, and is exotic in both. As a noun it
refers to a definite, almost canonical tradition, starting in miscegnated
New Orleans and flowing outward, through the great cities of America and
out to the farflung ports of the globe. As a verb jazz is an impulse to
play music in a certain way: to jazz it up. Usually this is music which
is created in a social context where musicians are free to improvise
on what they hear each other playing. The jazz verb is what launched
the jazz tradition, but there are no obvious limits to what kinds of
music can be jazzed up, and improvised music springs readily out of
other musical traditions. Indeed, the impulse to jazz seems to be an
intrinsic desire among musicians everywhere -- especially given the
model that jazz the noun has provided to the whole world.

In the rest of this article, what I want to do is to sketch out, very
roughly, the interactions of jazz and world music. In particular, I
want to look at the globalization of jazz and what we might call the
jazzification of world music. This could be a ridiculously huge subject,
but we can rein it in a bit by only considering musicians consciously
working in reference to the jazz tradition, and by sticking to the
conventionally limited definition of world music as ethnographic folk
and pop, but not classical or rock or hip-hop or (perhaps the most
globalized music in the world today) electronica. Jazz is active on
all those borders as well, and the same dynamics apply there too.


The problem with the blues/swing dogma; discontinuities in jazzified
blues, e.g. Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman

Bob Wills: jazzified country; Harry Choates: jazzified cajun

Eddie Lang/Django Reinhardt, Joe Venuti/Stephane Grappelli: the
push-pull dynamic

Swing Tanzen Verboten: evil jazz and merely bad jazz

Ellington from jungle music to "Ad Lib on Nippon"

something about Afro-American emigres in Europe (Bechet, Byas, Powell,
Gordon, Webster, maybe George Russell)

Ahmed Abdul-Malik: Jazz Sahara (1958)
Art Blakey: The African Beat (1962)
John Coltrane: Ole, Africa/Brass, Afro Blue
Stan Getz: Jazz Samba, Billy Highstreet Samba
Dizzy Gillespie: "Manteca", "A Night in Tunisia"
Lars Gullin/Arne Domnerus
Yusef Lateef
Max Roach
Sonny Rollins: "St. Thomas"
George Russell
Randy Weston
Toshiko Akiyoshi
Art Ensemble of Chicago
Gato Barbieri
Kenny Barron
Peter Brotzmann
Don Cherry
Andrew Cyrille
Pierre Dorge
Donald Rafael Garrett/Zusaan Kali Fasteau
Jan Garbarek
Egberto Gismonti
Dusko Goykovich
Abdullah Ibrahim
Hugh Masekela
Chris McGregor/Johnny Dyani/Louis Moholo/Dudu Pukwana/Mongezi Feza
John McLaughlin
David Murray
Buell Neidlinger
Don Pullen
Tomasz Stanko
Yosuke Yamashita
John Zorn/Dave Douglas/Masada
Rabih Abou-Khalil
Billy Bang: Vietnam
Jean-Paul Bourelly: Trance Atlantic
Anthony Brown/Jon Jang/Fred Houn
Bill Cole
Kahil El'Zabar
Marc Ribot
Gonzalo Rubalcaba/Hector Ruiz
David Sanchez
Gilad Atzmon
Mihaly Borbelly
Abdoulaye N'Diaye
Cecil Brooks, Skatalites, Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, Light of Saba
Hamid Drake
Andy Hamilton
West Nkosi
Trilok Gurtu
Okay Temiz
Nguyen Le
Clifford Thornton
"Rough Guide to South African Jazz"
Fela Anikulapo Kuti

nominal jazz bands in Africa: TPOK Jazz, Shirati Jazz

With few exceptions, world music has fallen on deaf ears in the U.S.
(at least in terms of popular markets). On the other hand, world music
does penetrate certain niche markets, including jazz. Jazz listeners
are more likely to listen to world; jazz musicians are more likely
to listen to world. As the world market for jazz musicians spreads
internationally (it seems to be centered in Europe at the moment),
U.S. jazz musicians are drawn abroad just to work. The effect of
this is that jazz musicians more and more form a global network,
and that network attracts more jazz musicians, from all around the
world. Those musicians bring their own backgrounds, expanding the
circle of contacts and referents that new jazz is built on. These
dynamics have been accelerating over the decades, and over the last
ten (or so) years we're seeing an explosion of transworld jazz.


Letter about piece to Bob:

Here are some quick notes on a possible jazz/world survey/map
piece. After the first three or so paragraphs, which set out the
basic dynamics, would come a string of paragraphs, each on an
artist or genre or concept. The end (very roughly and incompletely
sketched below) would then try to tie up and speculate on the
future. The middle section is elastic -- it can be as long or
as short as you have space to accommodate. The artist names
just come from scanning my files, and are basically in the
order found (or thought of). They need to be sorted into a
more cogent list, and also prioritized. E.g., Don Cherry is
a high priority. Each of these paragraphs should have a point,
rather than just being a laundry list of names and records (not
that they won't blur into that). It would also be possible to
blow up a few of these paragraphs into sideboxes of maybe
200-400 words; e.g.:

  Dudu Pukwana et al.
  David Murray
  Kali Fasteau et al. (Bill Cole, Cooper-Moore)

Anthony Brown would probably be #4 on that list, but I'm not
sure I either have enough or understand it well enough to knock
out something real fast. Those three are good examples of what
might be called the push, pull, and kibbitz dynamics (Cherry
was the patron saint of jazz/world kibbitzers; on the other
hand I don't have a lot of good examples of music he produced).
A fourth dynamic has to do with imagined ethnic roots -- a lot
of afroamerican examples, of which Randy Weston is probably the
best, although John Zorn is another.

I didn't go through my latin lists; obviously there's more
there, and a few paragraphs are mandatory. I left out major
figure who dabbled, especially in latin (Mingus), or who
just sounded foreign (Kirk). Left out most of the Europeans,
especially one who are (a) straight jazz, (b) third stream,
(c) influenced by Cardew, Stockhausen, Berio, et al.; that
mostly leaves folk-influenced musicians, mostly balkans
and scandinavians. Same for Japan: almost all of them are
in tradition. Some of this should be generalized in the
middle paragraphs.

Have to think more about African. I'm not sure how much is
improvised there -- I suspect a lot, but that it's still
tethered to its popular roots, like '30s swing; i.e., it
really never went through the bebop straightjacket which
separated the music from the masses. Maybe you have some
ideas on that. My African list (blue is what I have; black
is shit I've heard about, seen recommended, etc.) is:


The end should have one more thing about electronica, since
the same jazz dynamics are even more pronounced there --
the big difference being the media.

Can't work any more on this right now: have to go shopping now,
and fix dinner for tonight.