Swedish stories? Culturally dependent perspectives on jazz improvisation as storytelling

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The concept of storytelling as a description (or prescription) regarding jazz music is a very old and very common trope in jazz discourses. Arguably, however, this usage seems to have been taken for granted, and has not been sufficiently investigated and problematized. One of several important aspects of the concept of storytelling as applied to jazz music has to do with the music’s semantic potentiality and the ways in which it may be used to present references that are relevant to performers and audiences. To an extent, this relevance may be described as a form of authenticity. The aim of this article is to contrast perspectives on jazz improvisation, storytelling, and authenticity as presented in American jazz literature with statements on these topics made by a number of Sweden’s leading jazz musicians in recent qualitative interviews. The picture that emerges, it is argued, includes interesting interconnections between two kinds of authenticity: tradition-authenticity and self-authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-25
JournalJazz Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Music


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