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

By Travis A. Jackson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
In the Studio and on Stage

The framings discussed in the previous chapters foreground the importance of attending to the details of a specific musical event via its nesting in successive frames—a scene, a blues aesthetic, ritual, space, time, tune, and form.1 They emphasize, as well, relating that single event to others and noting how each event is constituted by references and responses to others displaced in time and space. Building on those ideas, I shift the focus here to the ways that the work of different actors and institutions shapes musical events in recording studios or clubs. For recordings, I will indicate whether the released version of a tune comes from a single take or is a composite of two or more, and for both recordings and live performances, information from my field notes about other performances by the musicians or groups in question will inform the analysis, particularly when there are discernible patterns of interaction that recur from event to event. Moreover, I will analyze the statements made by the musicians about the performance contexts and their approaches to performance where available and relevant.

In the process I will examine how performers manipulate “statistical parameters” of musical performance, those that Elliott (1987) argues are difficult to quantify and/or notate: timbre, dynamics, density, intensity, and feel. Density refers to both the number of sonic events occurring per unit of time and the number of discrete sonic elements present at a given moment. Intensity is a function of combinations of kinds of timbre, dynamics, register, density, the perceptibility of meter, and the manner in

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