Meeting on October 23, 2019—Prof. Marian Jago

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Marian Jago (University of Edinburgh) to CDI for a presentation on her recent research.

This talk will take place at 12opm on Wednesday October 23 in Dodge 701C (Columbia’s Ethnomusicology Center)

Kicking it Koryu: Lineage, Language, and Improvisational Culture(s)

This talk aims to consider ways in which the cultural embeddedness of improvisational practice may inform both the improvisational process and notions of the improvisational object, or act. We will consider the ways in which pedagogical and performative lineages serve as repositories for particular sorts of idiomatic understanding, and as sites of knowledge exchange and praxis. Integral to these processes are aspects of oral and expressive culture which exist outside the discrete elements of performance practice and/or pedagogy, and which develop and maintain the cultural coherence of improvising traditions. Approaching improvisation as culturally situated can provide rich opportunities for collaborative understanding across domains of practice; shifting focus from technique and the improvisational ‘act’ toward notions of (shared) ideological process.


Originally from Canada, Marian is now lecturer in popular music and jazz studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has published frequently on a wide variety of jazz topics for the Journal of Jazz Studies, Jazz Perspectives, Jazz Research Journal, Routledge, Bloomsbury, and others. Some of her recent work looks at the relationship of jazz to the writing of Jack Kerouac, the jazz economy of New York in the 1960s, the development of jazz co-operatives in Canada, and extended studio techniques versus “liveness” in jazz recordings. She maintains an active interest in the concept of jazz scenes/jazz as culture, as well as the music and pedagogical practices of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz. She is also currently editor of the journal Jazz Perspectives, sits on the board of directors for the Scottish Jazz Archive, and convenes the weekly Jazz and Popular Music Study Group at the Edinburgh College of Art.