WILLIAM KIRK BARES Why do people live in New York? There is no relationship between them. Except for an inner electricity which results from the simple fact of their being crowded together. A magical sensation of contiguity and attraction for an artificial centrality. This is what makes it a self-attracting universe, which there is no reason to leave. --Jean Baudrillard, America (1986)1 The memorable travelogue that earned Baudrillard his reputation as a postmodern Alexander de Tocqueville revealed just how persistent the European drive toward transatlantic "othering" remained before the advent of an equally artificial and self-attracting European Union. In the timeworn narrative pattern, Old World "substance" was valorized in and through fearful and fascinating constructions of New World superficiality. Given New York's historic, symbolic, and de facto centrality for the jazz world, it should come as no surprise that this narrative pattern played a significant role in structuring a polarizing transatlantic jazz discourse during the past century of cultural exchange. Jean-Paul Sartre's description of his encounter with New York's authentic bebop--"hurried Pianist/composer/scholar William Kirk Bares received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University in 2009. His research interests include transatlantic jazz and ecomusicology. He has conducted research on
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Jan 14, 2015
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