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Making Jazz Space: Clubs and Creative Practice in California, Chile, and Siberia

  • Author(s): Rodriguez, Alex Warner
  • Advisor(s): Loza, Steven J.
  • et al.
Abstract

Drawing from anthropological fieldwork in three jazz clubs, this dissertation explores the global scale of contemporary jazz practice through an examination of the communities that sustain them in Los Angeles, California; Santiago, Chile; and Novosibirsk, Siberia. These spaces, which bear striking similarities to one another both in terms of architectural aesthetics and community practices despite the vast distance between them, are investigated as instantiations of jazz space informed by logics of jazz listening, and as sites of jazz practice—a process that I call jazz anthropology. It argues that to understand why jazz practices continue to manifest anywhere, we must understand what they mean to people elsewhere—that is, beyond the music’s geographical centers of production on the U.S. East Coast. By attending to these peripheries, we can hear the music as a manifestation of jazz consciousness, as tendrils of black radical modes of thinking transposed to far-flung geographies—even ones that very few black people inhabit. To situate these practices in a longer genealogical timespan, the dissertation also includes brief historical sketches of jazz practice in each of the three locations in 1917, 1959, and 1990, demonstrating the long local histories that inform the music in each locale. Each subsequent chapter focuses on a different club, as well as a distinctive aspect of global jazz world-making. Taken together, they tell a story of how people around the world share a sense of meaning and emplacement in ideas of Jazz as a universal signifier.

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