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Asian Americans and Creative Music Legacies

Michael Dessen

Published: 2006-05-01

This essay is an introduction to what has been called the Asian American Creative Music Movement, focusing especially on musicians based in the San Francisco Bay area. It examines the history of those musicians' networks and situates their work as both musicians and activists in relation to African American creative music legacies.

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Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.