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Barcelona and the Construction of Iberian Jazz: Beyond Sketches of Spain with Modern Jazz Pianist Tete Montoliu
February 28, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
No musician did more to shape Iberian jazz than pianist Vicenç Montoliu i Massana (1933-1997), who was known simply as ‘Tete.’ Fraser’s most recent book project blends jazz studies, urban studies, and disability studies approaches while bringing critical attention to an underappreciated artist who grew up listening to 78s by Duke Ellington and Fats Waller, performed modern jazz with the likes of Don Byas, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Ben Webster, recorded Catalan folksongs as well as his own modern jazz compositions, and made his career not in Spain but rather in Denmark, Germany, and Holland. This quick-moving exploration of Tete’s life, musical work and international reception confirms three interconnected points made by jazz scholar Paul Austerlitz: that jazz remains “an art that is intimately tied to national identity in the United States,” that jazz is “inextricable from its African-influenced base,” and that jazz is “a major current of transnational culture.”
Benjamin Fraser is Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Hispania, Founding and Executive Editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Founding co-editor of the Hispanic Urban Studies book series, and Senior Editor of the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. Among his eleven book monographs are The Art of Pere Joan: Space, Landscape and Comics Form (Texas, 2019), Visible Cities, Global Comics (Mississippi, 2019) and Cognitive Disability Aesthetics (Toronto, 2018).
This talk is sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies, the Center for Global Initiatives, and the Center for European Studies. Access the flyer in PDF format.