Teófilo Espada-Brignoni, (2018) Complexity and Ambivalence: The Ethics of Jazz in Sidney Bechet’s and Warren Dodds’s Autobiographies, Jazz Perspectives, Published online: 16 Jul 2018
During the twentieth century, jazz was at the center of multiple debates about social life and American experience. Jazz music and its performers were framed in both positive and negative manners. The autobiographies of New Orleans musicians Sidney Bechet and Warren Dodds provide insight into the general frames they used to frame jazz experience and agency sometimes at odds with dominant discourses. Through Michel Foucault’s notion of ethical substance, I analyze the way in which jazz is constructed in their autobiographies. Several themes are used by both autobiographers to frame their actions, which are constructed in a complex and ambivalent manner revealing both the ethics of jazz and its covert culture.