Jazz Research Journal, Vol 14, No 1 (2020)

Jazz and cosmopolitan practice: The case of Lloyd Swanton

Benjamin Phipps
Issued Date: 27 Mar 2021


Cosmopolitanism has increasingly been used as a concept to analyse and discuss the cultural and musical practice of jazz musicians. As an interpretive wedge for discussing the history of jazz, cosmopolitanism has been associated with the culturally hybrid establishment of jazz. However, definitions and applications of the term 'cosmopolitanism' remain somewhat ambiguous. In this article, building on the scholarship of cosmopolitanism in jazz, anthropology, philosophy and sociology, I use my ethnographic research with Australian musician Lloyd Swanton to identify certain practices and behaviours. I question how we determine whether a jazz musician's practices can be usefully described as cosmopolitan. I then examine the implications of identifying musical and cultural practice as cosmopolitan and the role of this term in identity formation.

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DOI: 10.1558/jazz.36831


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