Onttype15. What is Free Jazz?
Definition of Free Jazz
The Politics of Free Jazz
- "Free Jazz and the French Critic," Eric Drott, in Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 61, No. 3 (Fall 2008), pp. 541-581. Published by the University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological Society.
ABSTRACT: From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, free jazz was the subject of considerable public interest in France. The present article examines the conditions that fueled enthusiasm for American avant-garde jazz, focusing on the politicization of discourse surrounding the ‘new thing.’ Critics hostile to the movement felt that it undermined jazz's claim to universality, a cornerstone of postwar attempts to valorize the genre in the French cultural sphere. Yet the tendency to identify free jazz with various forms of African American political radicalism presented no less of a challenge for the movement's advocates. By constructing an image of free jazz that stressed its irremediable difference from the norms and values of European culture, writers were compelled to find alternative ways of relating it to contemporary French concerns. A reading of Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli's text Free Jazz Black Power shows how the authors' attempt to reinscribe African American cultural nationalism as an expression of transnational anticolonial struggle not only helped bring free jazz closer to the French experience, but also served as a way of working through the unresolved legacies of colonialism.