All Play and No Work: An Ontology of Jazz

I argue for an ontology of jazz according to which it is a tradition of musical performances but no works of art. I proceed by rejecting three alternative proposals: (i) that jazz is a work performance tradition, (ii) that jazz performances are works of art in themselves, and (iii) that jazz recordings are works of art. I also note that the concept of a work of art involved (1) is nonevaluative, so to deny jazz works of art is not to judge it inferior to artistic traditions with works, and (2) is univocal across other musical traditions, so to claim there are works of art in jazz would be to use a different sense of the term than we use when, say, discussing classical music.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6245.2011.01483.x
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Aili Bresnahan (2015). Improvisation in the Arts. Philosophy Compass 10 (9):573-582.

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