By Sarah MacMillan
Rutgers English congratulates Professor Brent Hayes Edwards on being awarded a one-year fellowship with the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. This international fellowship program supports fifteen scholars per year, from all fields, to do full-time advanced research in the library.
His new project will explore the evolution of jazz in the 1970s in New York City. Many jazz historians assert that jazz “died” in that decade, overtaken by other forms of popular music, but Professor Edwards sees it differently. He argues that changes in the way jazz artists worked – such as, a movement away from clubs and major labels, and toward private sessions and smaller studios – encouraged more collaborative musical explorations. Eventually, these shifts led to the creation of many “jazz collectives” and independent recording labels, which Professor Edwards sees as useful examples of the way art has served as a basis for the building of black social and political institutions.
Professor Edwards has published articles on African- American literature and on jazz, and his book, The Practice of Diaspora, describes the cultural politics of the Paris and New York creative scenes in the 1920s and 30s. This new project seems fitting, given his most recent work as co-editor for an anthology called Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies. If you’re at the New York Public Library and hear someone humming a saxophone solo, look for Professor Edwards to congratulate him, and wish him success with his research.
More about the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers
More about Uptown Conversation
Professor Edwards wins two University awards