Welcome to the latest issue of the Journal of Jazz Studies (JJS). Like so many aspects of life, the journal paused in the wake of COVID-19. This issue is the result of the Institute of Jazz Studies’s decision to reboot the journal and to recommit to the mission and values that have been central to the JJS since its founding in 1973. With this relaunch, we retooled our editorial board and editorial team. I’m pleased to welcome our new Managing Editor, Sean Lorre, and Section Editors Jeffrey Sultanof and Lawrence Davies. Moving forward, we plan to publish two issues a year featuring high quality research and opinions on all aspects of jazz studies from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives that will be accessible to scholars and enthusiasts alike. In that spirit, we remain an online-only, open access journal available to the reading public at no cost.
Starting with this issue, the JJS will include additional functionality in the form of HTML versions of articles alongside our traditional PDFs. This allows for easy access to content on mobile devices and facilitates embedding video and streaming audio directly into our articles.
Issue 13.1 introduces two new sections that will become future cornerstones of the journal. In the section titled “From the Archives,” we will feature articles pertaining to projects and collections at the Institute of Jazz Studies. The inaugural article is by the Institute’s Metadata Archivist Diane Biunno and is entitled “Bud Powell Behind the Scenes: Highlights from the Francis Paudras Collection on Bud Powell.” In her article, Ms. Biunno discussed the origins of the Paudras Collection and previews a few key moments from the film footage contained therein.1 Biunno invites researchers to take advantage of this resource when it becomes fully available in early 2023.
The other new section, which we call “The Bridge,” provides a space for non-traditional forms of jazz scholarship, including, but not limited to reflections, discussions, provocations, and commemorations, as well as creative and speculative writing, oral histories, photo and sound essays. The inaugural article is by pianist, composer and JJS editorial board member Ethan Iverson. Iverson’s article, “All-Star Television,” explores the extraordinary performances and critical commentary contained on “The Jazz Experimenters,” a jazz television broadcast produced by National Educational Television as part of their USA: Music series. In addition to commentary from Ralph Ellison and Martin Williams, the program features performances from Cecil Taylor and Charles Mingus, including a fascinating tribute to Art Tatum and Freddie Webster by the bassist/composer.
Scott Brown’s article, “John Arthur ‘Jaki’ Byard: A Centennial Tribute to an Original Eclectic,” is a homage to the pianist in his centennial year and an examination of his musical proclivities. Here Brown examines Byard’s early life and works, his teaching, his humor, and his signature style —which included his ability to play earlier jazz piano styles like stride.
In “Jazz Standard as Archive: Theorizing a Relationship Between Jazz Improvisation and Standard Repertoire,” composer, improvisor and scholar Toby Wren argues that the distinctive style of jazz improvisation is, at least in part, determined by the characteristics of its shared repertoire and the statements that have accrued around that repertoire. He goes on to provide an alternative perspective on creativity in jazz and a theorization of an idea that is implicit in jazz pedagogy and practice.
The issue concludes with Monica Ambalal’s review of the latest biography on guitarist/vocalist Lonnie Johnson titled The Inconvenient Lonnie Johnson: Blues, Race, Identity by Julia Simon.
Once again, welcome back and we look forward to providing quality scholarship to the jazz studies world for many years to come.
-Vincent Pelote, Editor-in-Chief
1 The film collection was donated to IJS in 2001 by Paudras’s son Stephane and is currently being digitized thanks to a grant from the Council for Library and Information Resources (CLIR).