The Fruitful Marriage of American Jazz and the Avant-garde, Part II

Gregor’s Bed

Wanda Waterman
The Voice Magazine, Volume 22 Issue 37 2014-09-19

“Wrapped in a battered sheepskin jacket and peering though Coke-bottle-thick eyeglasses, Sartre lectured up and down the East Coast and was the subject of adoring articles in New York newspapers and magazines. ’One is free to act,’ he told reporters, ’but one must act to be free.’ Beboppers like Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Thelonious Monk picked up on him, appropriating the Left Bank café-intellectual style—the black beret, the horn-rimmed glasses, the wee goatee.”
– Lewis MacAdams

What is the “Avant-garde,” Really? (continued from here)
The symbiosis was a blessed one. The avant-garde’s blurring of distinction between “high” and “low” art (case in point: Andy Warhols’s Pop Art images) opened the door to an amalgamation with jazz, so that by association jazz became avant-garde and the avant-garde became cool.

Bebop granted the avant-garde a kind of grounding in social concern, a connection to the roots from which jazz had emerged—field hollers, ragtime, dixieland, blues, etc.—which granted the avant-garde a kind of legitimacy in the larger world that normally it doesn’t enjoy. (Read the rest here.)

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