Ajay Heble is Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at University of Guelph in Ontario. He is the author of Landing On The Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice and a coeditor of The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue. Heble is the founder and artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and a founding editor of the online peer-reviewed journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation.
Rob Wallace is a teacher, writer, and musician. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is the author of Improvisation and the Making of American Literary Modernism. As a percussionist, he can be heard on recordings from the pfMentum and Ambiances Magnétiques record labels.
Touching upon Mingus's many innovations as a jazzman, I Know What I Know explores his advancement of the art of bass playing; his assimilations of Ellington and Monk with ideas leaning toward free jazz; his experiments with ensemble dynamics, instrumentation, and extended form; and his working relationships with partners such as Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Knepper, and Dannie Richmond. The book provides a broad, informative overview of Mingus's work without veering into technical musical terminology. Readers without an extensive background in music will thus understand and appreciate the analyses provided, and be able to use them to enhance the experience of listening to the brilliant work of this legendary jazz great.
McKay explores the music in relation to issues of whiteness, blackness, and masculinity—all against a backdrop of shifting imperial identities, postcolonialism, and the Cold War. He considers objections to the music’s spread by the “anti-jazzers” alongside the ambivalence felt by many leftist musicians about playing an “all-American” musical form. At the same time, McKay highlights the extraordinary cultural mixing that has defined British jazz since the 1950s, as musicians from Britain’s former colonies—particularly from the Caribbean and South Africa—have transformed the genre. Circular Breathing is enriched by McKay’s original interviews with activists, musicians, and fans and by fascinating images, including works by the renowned English jazz photographer Val Wilmer. It is an invaluable look at not only the history of jazz but also the Left and race relations in Great Britain.
Agribusiness has known for decades that packing thousands of birds or livestock together results in a monoculture that selects for such disease. But market economics doesn't punish the companies for growing Big Flu – it punishes animals, the environment, consumers, and contract farmers. Alongside growing profits, diseases are permitted to emerge, evolve, and spread with little check. “That is,” writes evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace, “it pays to produce a pathogen that could kill a billion people.”
In Big Farms Make Big Flu, a collection of dispatches by turns harrowing and thought-provoking, Wallace tracks the ways influenza and other pathogens emerge from an agriculture controlled by multinational corporations. Wallace details, with a precise and radical wit, the latest in the science of agricultural epidemiology, while at the same time juxtaposing ghastly phenomena such as attempts at producing featherless chickens, microbial time travel, and neoliberal Ebola. Wallace also offers sensible alternatives to lethal agribusiness. Some, such as farming cooperatives, integrated pathogen management, and mixed crop-livestock systems, are already in practice off the agribusiness grid.While many books cover facets of food or outbreaks, Wallace's collection appears the first to explore infectious disease, agriculture, economics and the nature of science together. Big Farms Make Big Flu integrates the political economies of disease and science to derive a new understanding of the evolution of infections. Highly capitalized agriculture may be farming pathogens as much as chickens or corn.