Blowin' the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene

By Travis A. Jackson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
The New York Jazz Scene
in the 1990s

Jazz in the 1990s, as in the 1920s and the 1950s, enjoyed a particularly high public profile, one that perhaps culminated with the airing of Ken Burns’s Jazz on PBS in 2001. Interest in jazz, however, was still centered more on the personalities of musicians and the abstract development of musical style than on the contours and effects of a temporally and spatially located scene. Building on the previous discussions of history, memory, race, culture, and practices, on one hand, and spatiality, on the other, I offer as a corrective a focus not only on the people moving through and populating the scene, but also on the spaces and institutions they manipulate (and that manipulate them) in the process of making jazz. Central here are the relationships between all involved as the scene changes and develops, even in the course of one decade. In the pages that follow, I will rapidly sketch the major elements of the jazz scene in and since the 1990s. Toward the end of the chapter I devote more attention to the interaction of those differing elements to show how, together, they have as much impact on the making of jazz as ready-made notions of musical or historical progress.


MUSICIANS

The number of New York-based musicians active on the jazz scene is difficult to determine. Reliance on the data one could gather from the membership rolls of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians

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