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Jazz in Post-World War II Los Angeles: Transforming Communities and Collaborative Spaces

Katharine Campbell Strauss ('11); Mentor: Joti Rockwell, Frances Pohl

Abstract: Jazz historians typify music after World War II as having emerged from the bebop idiom into two subgenres - hard bop and cool jazz. This project sought to investigate the relationships between jazz subgenres as well as the connection between artists and their historical context. Secondary sources provided musical and historical overviews, primary sources, such as autobiographies and newspapers, offered perspectives from participants, and recordings added a limited though useful sonic context. Attention to autobiography emphasizes the role of dynamic space and movement in jazz, and musicians' perspectives reveal the shortcomings of using recordings as self-supporting evidence. My study found that standard jazz histories depicting the birth of styles according to commercial recordings are essentially misguided. This research calls into question the metaphor of stylistic "birth" in jazz historiography, and it argues for further work examining the musical and social interactions among performers in post- WWII Los Angeles.
Funding Provided by: The Fletcher Jones Foundation

Monome HOWTO: A Jaunt In The Forest of Sonic Possibilities

Ryan Wieghard ('14); Mentor: Thomas Flaherty

Abstract: Recently there has been an advent of music technology that allows for controlling of parameters of sound in non-traditional ways. The Monome is one of these devices that can be tailored to the disparate needs and visions of an individual artist. The Monome consists of a matrix of buttons the function of which is unassigned. The artist/programmer then designs a program on the computer that assigns specific functions to specific buttons with some particular sonic result. My research consisted of looking at a sample of extant programs available on the Internet and then used the information I learned to design novel ones.I documented my explorations as a HOWTO manual for future electronic music students.
Funding Provided by: The Faucett Family Foundation

Research at Pomona