2pm – Speaker: Prof Tony Whyton
Salford Music Research Centre
Title: ‘Song of Praise: Musicians, Myths and the “Cult” of John Coltrane’
Studies of popular music and fandom have grown into a sophisticated field of enquiry over recent years. Fan communities and interests are widespread, and several popular music scholars have been at pains to stress the need to resist depictions of fans as cultural “others” and to engage instead with fandom as part of everyday life.
Today, studies of music fandom are multidimensional but also contested in many ways, as the nature of fan debates
challenges established notions of objectivity, cultural value and authority, as well as ongoing attitudes to modernity and the role of the mass media. When considering the debates that have emerged in popular music research about fan cultures over recent years, several interesting and subtle differences occur when applying insights on fandom to jazz discourse, especially when examining the reverence of an iconic artist such as John Coltrane. Coltrane is arguably the most revered icon in jazz history, inspiring an obsessive following of writers, record collectors and enthusiasts. Taking up the challenge of dispelling the mythology of fans as imagined “others” and exploring ways in which fandom permeates a range of personal and professional contexts, I examine the dis- course of musicians as fans in jazz.
-3pm – Speaker: Prof Tim Wall Birmingham City University
Title: Rethinking ‘British popular music’ through the work of Steven Feld
In this paper I’ll be using the idea of cosmopolitanism
developed by anthropologist Steven Feld and deploying it as a way to open up our thinking about American-derived popular music in Europe. I’ll sneak in some examples from jazz, but I will argue that the point holds more widely for other forms of British music as well.