Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: Jazz as Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society

SUNY Press
Free sample

Using insights from Integral Theory, describes how the improvisational methods of jazz can inform education and other fields.

Jazz, America’s original art form, can be a catalyst for creative and spiritual development. With its unique emphasis on improvisation, jazz offers new paradigms for educational and societal change. In this provocative book, musician and educator Edward W. Sarath illuminates how jazz offers a continuum for transformation. Inspired by the long legacy of jazz innovators who have used meditation and related practices to bring the transcendent into their lives and work, Sarath sees a coming shift in consciousness, one essential to positive change. Both theoretical and practical, the book uses the emergent worldview known as Integral Theory to discuss the consciousness at the heart of jazz and the new models and perspectives it offers. On a more personal level, the author provides examples of his own involvement in educational reform. His design of the first curriculum at a mainstream educational institution to incorporate a significant meditation and consciousness studies component grounds a radical new vision.
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About the author

Edward W. Sarath is Professor of Music and Director of the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Music Theory through Improvisation: A New Approach to Musicianship Training.
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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Apr 2, 2013
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Pages
487
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ISBN
9781438447230
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Experimental Methods
Music / Genres & Styles / Jazz
Music / Instruction & Study / Techniques
Music / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Psychology / Movements / Transpersonal
Reference / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A landmark in jazz studies, Thinking in Jazz reveals as never before how musicians, both individually and collectively, learn to improvise. Chronicling leading musicians from their first encounters with jazz to the development of a unique improvisatory voice, Paul Berliner documents the lifetime of preparation that lies behind the skilled improviser's every idea.

The product of more than fifteen years of immersion in the jazz world, Thinking in Jazz combines participant observation with detailed musicological analysis, the author's experience as a jazz trumpeter, interpretations of published material by scholars and performers, and, above all, original data from interviews with more than fifty professional musicians: bassists George Duvivier and Rufus Reid; drummers Max Roach, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Akira Tana; guitarist Emily Remler; pianists Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris; saxophonists Lou Donaldson, Lee Konitz, and James Moody; trombonist Curtis Fuller; trumpeters Doc Cheatham, Art Farmer, Wynton Marsalis, and Red Rodney; vocalists Carmen Lundy and Vea Williams; and others. Together, the interviews provide insight into the production of jazz by great artists like Betty Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.

Thinking in Jazz overflows with musical examples from the 1920s to the present, including original transcriptions (keyed to commercial recordings) of collective improvisations by Miles Davis's and John Coltrane's groups. These transcriptions provide additional insight into the structure and creativity of jazz improvisation and represent a remarkable resource for jazz musicians as well as students and educators.

Berliner explores the alternative ways—aural, visual, kinetic, verbal, emotional, theoretical, associative—in which these performers conceptualize their music and describes the delicate interplay of soloist and ensemble in collective improvisation. Berliner's skillful integration of data concerning musical development, the rigorous practice and thought artists devote to jazz outside of performance, and the complexities of composing in the moment leads to a new understanding of jazz improvisation as a language, an aesthetic, and a tradition. This unprecedented journey to the heart of the jazz tradition will fascinate and enlighten musicians, musicologists, and jazz fans alike.
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