Black Jazz Experimentalisms in the United States
- Jasmine Henry
- College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Music
First-Year Seminar Grant
From the paradigm-shifting sonic explorations of John Coltrane, Mary Lou Williams, and Kendrick Lamar, this seminar explores Black experimental jazz music-making to interrogate how musical experimentation is theorized, performed, and perceived among Black musicians in the United States. We will examine a variety of experimentation-driven musical practices in relation to twentieth and twenty-first century Black aesthetic principles, political ideologies, technological innovations, and social movements. Drawing from recent musicological scholarship, the term “experimentalisms” will be employed to illustrate the myriad ways experimental music-making is practiced and perceived beyond traditional Eurocentric interpretive frameworks. Through critical discussion, reading, and listening exercises, we will analyze how Black jazz and popular music experimentalists articulate broader sociopolitical and artistic concerns through their eclectic and heterodox approaches to music-making. Special attention will be given to the transformative, yet oft-silenced, contributions of Black women experimentalists such as Alice Coltrane and Linda Sharrock. Overall, this seminar offers insights on how to listen to and interpret Black jazz experimentalisms as a means of pushing beyond limiting notions of scientific and musical experimentation. IMPORTANT: If a course has closed and you would like to be notified when a spot opens you should set a course alert through https://penncoursealert.com. Registration is on a first come first serve basis and open spaces cannot be held.