Notes from the Field

Curated by Samuel Montagne

A Jazz Perspective on Mexico City

In this installment of Space is the Place, trombonist and composer Brian Allen, who grew up in Texas and now lives in Mexico City, reflects on why he has chosen the Mexican capital as his artistic home base, and how the city has changed his outlook on life and music-making.

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Second Lining in New Orleans: On the Floor and On the Streets

It’s approaching 2 AM on a Wednesday night in late July, and for the first time in an hour several of the members of the TBC Brass Band are seated. The band continues to play as members move into seats or climb atop tables towards the exit of Celebration Hall, with audience members dancing along behind them.

Stepping at the 7th Annual Zeta Yard Show (UW-Madison)

During the 2013 spring quarter at UCLA, I decided to conduct field research on the “stepping” tradition amongst the historically black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) for my final project in a field and laboratory methods course.

The International Cairo Jazz Festival

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from a longer essay on improvised music spaces in Egypt that will be published in October as part of the Sounding Board's forthcoming collaboration with IASPM-US.

Trombonanza: Argentina's Unlikely Music Festival

“There's trombone playing in all parts of the world, but the heart of all that is here at Trombonanza.” –trombonist Paul Compton

Jazz Manouche on the French Festival Stage

Jazz manouche, also known as Gypsy jazz, is a genre rooted in the 1930s-40s recordings of guitarist Django Reinhardt and typically features guitar-centric swing tunes.  Over the past
 three decades, jazz manouche has become a distinctive cultural practice within certain communities of French Manouches (a subgroup of Romani, or “Gypsy” people), especially in Alsace.

A Finnish Medley: Forging Folk Metal

In 1990, the Swedish black metal band Bathory released Hammerheart, in which they turned from worshipping Satan and cursing Christ to praising Odin and longing for Valhalla—thus Nordic folk metal was born.

Iron Lion: "Black Music" and African Migrants in Urban Israel

Club Rasta is a tiny place on HaRakevet Street in south Tel Aviv: 20 square foot dance floor, DJ booth, nicely stocked bar, a few tables and chairs.  Small as it is, you can’t miss the entrance; it’s marked by a larger-than-life painting of a crowned lion in front of an Ethiopian flag, and the sounds of heavy bass that spill into the street.  Open on Tuesdays and the weekend, Rasta is the neighborhood bar of choice for Et

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