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The New Battles Over the Direction of Jazz

The final Popcast looking back at the music of 2018 is about the year in jazz: There was a tremendous amount of excellent music created, as well as intriguing alchemical choices made by the youngest generation of rising stars.

But jazz’s increasing role as a commodity of intellectual cool brings its own set of questions. What is the effect of pop culture’s embrace of figures like Kamasi Washington, Esperanza Spalding and an entire generation of British jazz upstarts?

That’s one theme of this episode, which also addresses the living legacy of Wayne Shorter, the renewed growth of big-band orchestras, and how jazz institutions, particularly in the academy, are shaping the genre’s future while selecting which parts of its past to prioritize.

On this week’s Popcast:

  • John Murph, a journalist and D.J. who writes for JazzTimes, DownBeat and others

  • Giovanni Russonello, who covers jazz for The New York Times


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