Kelsey Klotz

Kelsey Klotz is a musician and educator in the St. Louis area, and currently works as a lecturer for Washington University in St. Louis. She has a Ph.D. in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on the cultural construction of cool jazz around narratives of white privilege, and emphasizes the lived experiences and sounds produced by black and white musicians.

Posts by Kelsey Klotz

Bittersweet Symphonies

What happens when different musical genres and their associated connotations—as represented in musicians, styles of music, and surroundings—collide?

Hamilton is Innovative, But Not Quite Revolutionary

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.

The Absent Women of Jazz

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.

Rhyme and No Reason

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.”

Notes of Refrain

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.

Campaign That Tune

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 Black and Tan Fantasy of Whiteness

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.

Zombie Music

“Jazz is dead!” “Long live jazz!” These competing diagnoses define the genre and its evolving boundaries. And that means a future of interesting music.

Miles Ahead

The recent film Miles Ahead says a lot about how Miles Davis treated women and, by extension, the ways jazz fans view his legacy.