I suppose I was drawn to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” in the days following January 6 because of the way it unveils violence and abuse masquerading as love. Politicians and citizens holding vastly different ideologies fought to control what loving America is, what that love looks like, and who is capable of expressing that love. In the midst of varying ideas and ideals about what America is, love was repeatedly invoked.
Posts by Kelsey Klotz
Starbucks uses for its in-stores soundtrack music celebrating individual tenacity and collective rebellion, but that supposed renegade spirit takes on a different context when the soundtrack is bebop jazz, and two African-American customers are arrested for failing to place their order in due time.
The reason the Grammys repeatedly lead to such a feeling of disappointment and letdown is, ultimately, because the Grammys in their current form cannot possibly reflect the intersecting and complicated notions of musical value held by its audience. The best the Recording Academy can do—and indeed, what the Academy should do—is make transparent its musical priorities.
Just as scholars consider how baby boomers’ Cold War experiences shaped their understandings of global politics, will future historians ask how millennials’ active shooter drills shaped their understandings of national politics?
For more than a century, the Veiled Prophet Organization has faced race-based protests; however, during all of that time, the organization has been able to claim innocence against racism based on historical context: they made no explicitly racist comments in public, and their exclusionary practices were the same as other fraternal organizations.
St. Louis’s Veiled Prophet Organization (VPO), with its historic roots in both Irish poetry and the Civil War Confederacy, is a case study in how past contexts inform present-day understanding.
Throughout her career thus far (it is hard to remember that she is just 33 years old), Esperanza Spalding has proven that hers is a unique voice in the music industry, easily crossing genre boundaries, yet continuously lauded by jazz musicians and audiences.
What happens to the body in technologically-mediated live performances, particularly those that continue to be defined as jazz by many audiences? The music of Herbie Hancock, in many ways, answers that question.
When recognition is embodied, it is nearly impossible to ignore.
Identifying racism is an important step in stemming its tide, but we (and I speak specifically to white people) must be willing and able to consider that racism might look and sound like ourselves.
Despite the easy, pseudo-feminist promotion of Diana as “strong,” Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins ultimately created a character who can contain a multitude of expressions that can simultaneously reinforce and disrupt typical gender norms.
Theories of mistakes in jazz scholarship helps us understand the ways in which mistakes in jazz performance are valued by audiences and performers—and the ways in which they are not.
What happens when different musical genres and their associated connotations—as represented in musicians, styles of music, and surroundings—collide?
The ways in which Lin-Manuel Miranda reverses traditional accounts of musical history by focusing on values taken from popular music, rather than values from art music, often contributes to critiques that view Hamilton as a problematic example of a progressive historical narrative.
Whether as audience members, scholars, or performers, women have been in short supply throughout jazz history. The representation of jazz in the films La La Land (2016) and Whiplash (2014), by director and writer Damien Chazelle, demonstrates this problem clearly.
Rapper T.I. tunes listeners’ ears backward in time, to the end of the Civil Rights Movement and the death of Martin Luther King Jr., but also forward to our current time in which he believes white supremacy “is covertly done.”
While a blanket license may cover musicians’ compensation and thus make the playing of their music perfectly legal, musicians may still protest the use of their voice and allure for purposes they find inauthentic to their image, brand, and identity. When it comes to music in politics, total harmony ranges beyond money.
Using a common language, whether verbal or musical, can ultimately create a community of people (in this case political supporters) that votes, sings, speaks, and even feels similarly. A candidate’s repertoire of songs can, in effect, address voters’ concerns.
Brazil’s showcasing of “The Girl from Ipanema” at the Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony demonstrated the extent to which Brazil, and the famous bossa nova song, construct a national story celebrating diversity while also relying on symbols rooted in stereotypes.
“Jazz is dead!” “Long live jazz!” These competing diagnoses define the genre and its evolving boundaries. And that means a future of interesting music.
The recent film Miles Ahead says a lot about how Miles Davis treated women and, by extension, the ways jazz fans view his legacy.