[CFP] ‘Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect’

It has recently been announced by The Department of Music and Media at the University of Surrey that they will be hosting a three-day conference called ‘Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect’ taking place 21st–23rd October 2016.

Our very own Professor Tony Whyton (Birmingham City University/ Jazz research at BCU) is a keynote speaker alongside Ingrid Monson ( Harvard University) 

The conference aims to undertake a wide-ranging scholarly and creative investigation of the music, history, legacy, cultural significance and wider socio-political, artistic and intellectual contexts of these two giants of jazz.

The conference committee invites proposals for scholarly, research-led contributions on any aspect of this theme.

As well as, proposals focusing directly on Davis and Coltrane, proposals are welcomed in which either of the two artists might serve as important springboards for the discussion of, or creative response to, wider cultural issues or other specific, related artists and musics.

Submission via e-mail to Jeremy Barham at: j.barham@surrey.ac.uk by Friday 29 January, 2016.

Notification of acceptance will be given by 26 February, 2016.

Click here for more information

[EVENT] Darmstadt Jazzforum 14: Gender & Identity in Jazz

By Nicolas Pillai

Located south of Frankfurt, Darmstadt is known as Germany’s “City of Science.” But it could just as easily be called the “City of Jazz.” Every two years, the city’s Jazzinstitut hosts an international conference that welcomes musicians, academics, journalists and interested townspeople for discussion and debate on the music’s ongoing place in society.

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This year the topic was “Gender & Identity,” a subject which attracted a variety of speakers and prompted lively argument. I had been invited to give the final paper of the conference and had chosen to speak on the Hollywood jazz film. Using Laura Mulvey’s theories of visual pleasure, my paper addressed the homosocial gaze in films about performing men. I wasn’t sure how this would go down; happily, the reactions from the audience were generous, effusive and intellectually informed – all characteristics of the conference as a whole.

Among a range of talented speakers, I was delighted to hear Katherine Williams’ reworked narrative of women in jazz, Joy Ellis and Adam Osmianski on women in the jazz jam and Sherrie Tucker on the problematic construction of ‘inclusivity’. These papers provided focused accounts of the challenges facing women within jazz performance and jazz education. Meanwhile, the masculine myths present in so many jazz histories were challenged by Christopher Dennison’s analysis of homosexual language in jazz anecdote, John Murph’s exploration of queerness in the work of Sun Ra and Christian Broecking’s triumphant celebration of Irène Schweizer.

Delegates were treated to warm German hospitality with a very fine meal and a brilliant jam session held in the cellar below the Institut. Meanwhile, I was excited to take a tour of the hunting lodge within which the archive is held and especially to browse the very impressive collection of jazz vinyl. An exhibition on the top floor tying into the conference gave a cohesion to the whole event and gave a glimpse into the wonderful resources held at the Jazzinstitut.

Proceedings for the conference will be published in the Darmstadt Studies in Jazz series, a volume I am looking forward to having on my bookshelf. I’m keen to return to many of the papers which I heard on this weekend but also to have a souvenir of one of the best-run and most productive conferences that I have attended. 

Conference programme available here 





[CFP] Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics

crumbjazz The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship invites authors and artists to submit contributions for a special collection on the general topic of Jazz and Comics.

This will be an open access scholarly collection co-edited by Dr Nicolas Pillai (Birmingham City University) and Dr Ernesto Priego (City University London).

We welcome submissions from researchers, artists, graduate students, scholars, teachers, curators, publishers and librarians from any academic, disciplinary or creative background interested in the multidisciplinarystudy and/or practice of comics and jazz.

Submissions must fulfil The Comics Grid’s editorial guidelines, available hereThe Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is an open access journal; authors retain copyright of their own work and the published content is made available on HTML and PDF under a Creative Commons-Attribution License.

The popular forms of jazz and comics have shared similar historical and cultural tendencies. As expressions of modernism, they have been subject to the demands of the marketplace and consumed by wide and varied audiences. Yet the liberatory qualities of comics and jazz have provoked concern in moral guardians, particularly in relation to the subcultures they have generated. Recalling Bourdieu, we might note that, within these subcultures, very divergent and often incompatible judgements are fiercely defended (1983: 24). In the 21st century, both jazz and comics are accepted as art forms. However, this elevated cultural position has arguably come at a price, contributing to the restriction of some forms of jazz and comics to specialised spaces of purchase and consumption.

Over the last forty years, the fields of jazz studies and comic studies have gained currency within the academy and have been enriched by interdisciplinary approaches. The New Jazz Studies has invigorated the discipline beyond its musicological roots, while Comics Studies has thrived in the digital age. This collection aims to find meeting points between the disciplines. We are encouraged by the fact that distinguished jazz musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Vince Guaraldi have each stated the influence of comic books on their musical development, while artists and writers have frequently turned to jazz for inspiration (e.g. strips about music appreciation by Harvey Pekar or Blutch). Jazz musicians have been the subjects of comic strips (e.g. Charlie Parker: Handyman, the BD Jazz series) and jazz musicians have created comic strips (Wally Fawkes/Trog).

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship welcomes research articles, book reviews, research notes, interviews, commentaries and research in comics form that develop the existing scholarship on jazz and comics as cultural and artistic practices within specific contexts and specific material conditions. We are particularly interested in work which emphasises interconnection and the multimodal. We proceed from an assumption that comics are not silent and that jazz is inherently visual.

Potential contributors are encouraged to think about jazz and comics expansively—and to consider them as practices that resist rigid formal definitions. While this will primarily be an academic collection of essays, we welcome work that challenges traditional forms of academic writing that nonetheless follow rigorous academic practice. Submissions might, for example, present academic book reviews in comics form, or research-based interviews with practitioners or scholars.

Possible topics may include (but are not restricted to):

  • The role of materiality and/or performativity in comics and jazz cultures
  • Comics and jazz collections in libraries and archives, and what comics and jazz librarianship and curatorial practice might learn from each other
  • Representations of jazz musicians and jazz history in comics
  • Visual and literary representations of jazz music in comics
  • Collectionism in comics and jazz cultures
  • The role of jazz music in films about comics and comics artists
  • Gender and jazz in comics
  • Critical engagements with biographies of jazz musicians in comics form

Submissions can be in any of the article types listed in our author guidelines. It is essential all research submissions include and directly refer to and discuss, in-text, specific examples of comics (panels, pages). Please ensure you have read the author guidelines carefully before submitting. Submissions must be uploaded directly to the journal here. All research submissions are subject to peer review. For technical specifications and special guidelines for research presented in comics form, please contact the editors before submitting.

Important dates

Submission deadline: 15 January 2016

Estimated Acceptance/Rejection Notices date: 15 April 2016

Estimated author revisions and proofreading period: 15 April- 15 June 2016

Estimated Publication date: 15 July 2016

*Depending on the number of accepted submissions outputs may be published in the order they are accepted.