School for Cool

School for Cool

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Jazz was born on the streets, grew up in the clubs, and will diea€”so some feara€”at the university. Facing dwindling commercial demand and the gradual disappearance of venues, many aspiring jazz musicians today learn their craft, and find their careers, in one of the many academic programs that now offer jazz degrees. School for Cool is their story. Going inside the halls of two of the most prestigious jazz schools arounda€”at Berklee College of Music in Boston and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New Yorka€”Eitan Y. Wilf tackles a formidable question at the heart of jazz today: can creativity survive institutionalization? Few art forms epitomize the anti-institutional image more than jazz, but ita€™s precisely at the academy where jazz is now flourishing. This shift has introduced numerous challenges and contradictions to the musica€™s practitioners. Solos are transcribed, technique is standardized, and the whole endeavor is plastered with the label a€œhigh arta€a€”a far cry from its freewheeling days. Wilf shows how students, educators, and administrators have attempted to meet these challenges with an inventive spirit and a robust drive to preservea€”and fostera€”what they consider to be jazza€™s central attributes: its charisma and unexpectedness. He also highlights the unintended consequences of their efforts to do so. Ultimately, he argues, the gap between creative practice and institutionalized schooling, although real, is often the product of our efforts to close it.School for Cool is their story.

Title:School for Cool
Author:Eitan Y. Wilf
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2014-05-05


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