The 'Black British Jazz' project (BBJ) explores the emergence of a distinct tradition within British music. BBJ melds reggae, hiphop, African music and US jazz into a rich, and constantly developing set of sounds. In documenting this musical hybrid, the project touches on important issues for the study of music – the transmission of cultural values, the social context of musical forms, and frameworks of ownership that impact on musical communities.
Our research takes an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together researchers with specialism’s in sociology, music psychology and (ethno) musicolology. And it integrates a range of methods, from detailed analysis of performance through to ethnographic and historical investigation.
The project approaches BBJ via three research strands:
These strands act as guides for our work. But as the project develops we will also be looking for ways of integrating them and highlighting common themes.
In terms of audience the project reaches out, beyond academia, to a broad constituency through film, a radio series/podcast, an end-of- project concert and more. What Is Black British Jazz runs from January 2009 through to July 2011 and is supported through the AHRC’s Beyond Text programme.
A new short film about the research project 'Black British Jazz' is now available on iTunes U.