Diasporic Jazz

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The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies, 2019, pp. 17 - 26
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Until the late twentieth century, the historiography and analysis of jazz were centered on the US to the almost complete exclusion of any other region. This was largely driven by the assumption that only the “authentic” version of the music, as represented in its country of origin, was of aesthetic and historical interest in the jazz narrative; that the forms that emerged in other countries were simply rather pallid and enervated echoes of the “real thing.” With the growth of the New Jazz Studies, it has been increasingly understood that diasporic jazz has its own integrity, as well as holding valuable lessons in the processes of cultural globalization and diffusion and syncretism between musics of the supposed center and peripheries. This has been accompanied by challenges to the criterion of place- and race-based authenticity as a way of assessing the value of popular music forms in general. As the prototype for the globalization of popular music, diasporic jazz provides a richly instructive template for the study of the history of modernity as played out musically. The vigor and international impact of Australian jazz provide an instructive case study in the articulation and exemplification of these dynamics.
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