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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

On The Jazz Musician's Love/Hate Relationship With The Audience, Bertram D. Ashe Jan 1999

On The Jazz Musician's Love/Hate Relationship With The Audience, Bertram D. Ashe

English Faculty Publications

An assistant professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, Bertram D. Ashe discusses how the intersection of an African American cool style with a black vernacular tradition and multi-racial audiences complicates audience-performer relations. In the vernacular tradition, performers play not "to" but "with" an audience, drawing on the call-response patterns that characterize the black aesthetic. Ashe notes that the vernacular tradition is not racial but cultural, and class can be as important a marker as race in determining audience expectations. Differing cultural backgrounds create, in Ashe's words, "competing realities," distinct sets of expectations that can shape ...