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From the Margins to the Mainstream: Jazz, Social Relations, and Discourses of Value

Alan Stanbridge

Published: 2008-05-04

This paper examines the manner in which particular discourses have served to shape and influence broader social understandings of various forms of contemporary jazz and improvised music, exploring the somewhat conflicted relationship that these forms of music have had with both the mainstream and the margins and the value claims made on behalf of these forms from a cultural, social, and political perspective.

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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.