Davide Sparti

The threat of the unrecognizable. Identity and uncertainty in jazz

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: identity, recognition, jazz, improvisation, uncertainty.

This paper, inspired by Alessandro Pizzorno recent book on rationality and recognition, offers an explanation to the following paradox: improvisation (in jazz) involves the capacity to produce, under the special conditions of performance, something that comes out differently than it did before, hence it requires that performers loose or convert their identity as they find it. But this implies in turn that they will face the threat of not being recognized (recognized as the same performers, or as playing the same kind of music, or even not recognized at all). How do improvisers cope with this threat of isolation? By examining some cases, especially the one involving Sun Ra's Arkestra, I will shed light on some of the "strategies" through which forms of recognition (hence of identity) can be nonetheless achieved.

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