Brent Hayes Edwards, a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, visits CalArts tonight to discuss his latest work and research in the lecture on "loft jazz": The Alchemy of Tin: The Cultures of Jazz in Downtown New York in the 1970s. As an academic and historian, his areas of expertise include African American literature, theories of diaspora, the history of colonialism, surrealism and 20th-century poetics.
But jazz remains Edwards' primary focus. He's a faculty member of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia, which not only examines jazz as a musical form, but also as an influence on American culture. He's currently working on two book projects: a study of the interplay between jazz and literature in African American culture; and a cultural history of the New York 1970s jazz scene.
Loft jazz took its name from music venues that were former industrial loft spaces in NYC's SOHO district--including Studio Rivbea, a performance venue and studio founded by saxophonist Sam Rivers. During the course of a week in May 1976, Rivers recorded the Wildflowers sessions with more than 60 artists, including Henry Threadgill, Harold Smith, Ken McIntyre, Anthony Braxton, Marion Brown, Dave Burrell, Ahmed Abdullah, Andrew Cyrille, Hamiet Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, Jimmy Lyons and Oliver Lake.
We found the above video of Rivers playing with other artists from the jazz loft era including Arthur Blythe and Chico Freeman.
Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series Presents Brent Hayes Edwards
Tuesday, Feb. 16
Langley Hall at CalArts