The Jazz Solo as Virtuous Act

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (1):61-74 (2016)
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Abstract

This article presents a new aesthetic of the improvised jazz solo, an aesthetic grounded in the premise that a solo is an act indivisible from the actor and the context. The solo's context includes the local and large-scale conventions of jazz performance as well as the soloist's other work. The theme on which a solo is based serves not as a “work,” but as part of the solo's stylistic context. Knowledge of this context inheres directly into proper apprehension of the musical surface; it does not constitute a separate plane of appreciation. I begin by examining the improvisational error. This examination supports the position that the solo is an act, not a work. From this position, I detail a new aesthetic of the improvised solo, grounded in the soloist's virtues. In a successful solo, the soloist's actions display a balance of two aesthetic “virtues”: compositional skill and a commitment to the spirit of improvisation. Compositional skill manifests in a solo as coherence. The improvisational spirit manifests as courage, spontaneity, and related qualities. These virtues often come into conflict; each soloist negotiates this conflict differently

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Citations of this work

The philosophy of music.Andrew Kania - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Ann S. Ferebee - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 35 (1):167.
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.John Lyons - 1966 - Philosophical Quarterly 16 (65):393-395.
All Play and No Work: An Ontology of Jazz.Andrew Kania - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (4):391-403.
On musical improvisation.Philip Alperson - 1984 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 43 (1):17-29.

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