Last week I attended the Rhythm Changes: Rethinking Jazz Cultures conference at Salford University in order to present a paper entitled Rethinking ‘European jazz’ through the work of Steven Feld, and also to chair a roundtable discussion on ‘Jazz and the Media’.

In the paper I used the anthropological work of Feld with African jazz musicians to open up a discussion regarding how we think about European jazz, and in particular the way in which the cultures and sounds of the movement are distinct from those which developed in the USA. As a media and cultural analyst, rather than an anthropologist, I gave particular attention to the role of European jazz media in this area.

The mediation and representation of jazz, and in particular jazz histories, is a theme I have explored in my work with Paul Long. I was delighted, then, to be invited to chair the ‘Jazz and the Media’ panel, which included Alyn Shipton and Alexander Kan from the BBC. We discussed the role of the organisation in light of changes to jazz consumption habits in the digital age, a topic which I have previously published work on with Andrew Dubber.

Also presenting at the Salford conference was my BCU colleague Simon Barber. As part of a BCMCR project Simon has recently been working with Dave Stapleton (Edition Records), on his engagement with digital and internet technologies. You can read more about Simon’s paper here.

The Salford event was a resounding success and greatly enjoyable, and as ever it was good to meet with colleagues and friends from across the world. The event was covered in great detail by the All About Jazz website, and also received some coverage in London Jazz News.

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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