Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved to a New Address) (2005)

Is Jazz Dead Book Cover


In 2015, Chapter 8 of  IS JAZZ DEAD (OR HAS IT MOVED TO A NEW ADDRESS) — ‘The Nordic Tone In Jazz’ —   was anthologised by  Robert Walser in KEEPING TIME: READINGS IN JAZZ HISTORY  (Oxford University Press, New York, 2015, 2nd Edition), described as ‘The single most valuable jazz-history resource (print or otherwise) available today.’

 IS JAZZ DEAD (OR HAS IT MOVED TO A NEW ADDRESS)  was was used as the theme of the 2010 edition of the  PORTLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL, one of North America’s leading jazz festivals: ‘This year’s festival theme, Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved to a New Address), shares the title of British jazz writer Stuart Nicholson’s critically acclaimed book on the contemporary state of jazz.’


‘Stuart Nicholson’s book Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved to a New Address), came out in 2005. The polemic and entertaining essay soon became an oft-quoted, highly influential text which ended up playing a major part in the renaissance of Nordic jazz.’ FINNISH  MUSIC  QUARTERLY (Finland)

‘A definitive account of the state of the art.’ THE OBSERVER MUSIC MONTHLY (UK).

‘Stuart Nicholson provides an admirably clear-sighted and culturally-sophisticated examination of recent developments in the US and Europe, while also pointing to a wealth of excellent music for the reader to go in search of.’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (UK)

‘Nicholson’s thesis is important, and he supports it persuasively…In explaining globalization (and ‘glocalisation,’ wherein artists incorporate their own national imagery and folklore and culture into the language of jazz) that Nicholson is best. For ethnocentric Americans who need help finding great, style-making jazz beyond our shores, Nicholson’s guidebook is invaluable.’ JAZZ TIMES (USA)

‘There is no doubt that this is one of the most important books about jazz. Nicholson demonstrates a solid knowledge and deep understanding of different countries’ jazz traditions. Globalization theories are pedagogically explained in a way that is easily understood by the reader. It is easy to be convinced by Nicholson’s thorough discussions, since his analyses are balanced and well written.’ JAZZNYTT (Norway)

‘One of the great contributions to jazz literature.’ JACK REILLY, jazz pianist, composer, and former Chairman of Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory, Boston (USA).

‘The author is very well informed. He has a deep insight into the music.’ INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF JAZZ, Newsletter March 2007 (Holland)

‘Provocative, stimulating and readable.’ THE COURIER MAIL (Australia)

‘Nicholson cannot be ignored.’ DER STANDARD (Austria)

‘Easily the most perceptive and stimulating critique of jazz for a very long time indeed.’ FLY.COM (UK)

‘A thorough analysis of the forces that have – or have not – been in motion since the death of Miles Davis in 1991 in American jazz…Nicholson is far reaching – and when he compares the films of Bergman to the Nordic Tone he has a brilliant point.’ DAGENS NYHETER (Scandinavia’s biggest circulation daily).

‘The undoubted merit of Nicholson’s book lies in its evaluation of European jazz. It is a testimony of the fact that Europe has left the period of imitation far behind and that the musicians on the continent have now reached maturity.’ JAZZ FORUM (Poland)

‘Nicholson constantly establishes relationships between the social-politic reality and culture -art developments. His last paragraph is so brilliant that it becomes an invitation to reflect/wonder. An open door which most followers/fans should cross more often.’ TOMAJAZZ.COM (Spain)

‘The issues Nicholson addresses are vital issues that should concern any of us who are interested and care about the survival and future direction of this music. It’s useful and enlightening to read how the global jazz fraternity is dealing with the ever changing realities confronting the music’s survival. Bravo and thanks for writing it!’ MIKE NOCK, jazz pianist, educator,  Sydney Conservatorium and member of  the Music Council of Australia (Australia).

‘Nicholson’s arguments both refreshing and inspiring… At a point in time where there are so many contrary opinions and viewpoints surrounding the state of jazz, where it’s headed and what it even means anymore, Nicholson’s book is a spirited and insightful read that seems determined to understand the music as a concept rather than simply as a tradition packaged neatly in a single word.’ SHEPHERD EXPRESS.COM (USA)

‘Your book will stand the test of time, as all your writing does. It is very sobering, but I feel great because I understand EVERYTHING you say!’ BOB BELDEN, jazz saxophonist, arranger, composer, Blue Note recording artist, record producer and eight times Grammy winner (USA).

‘There is no other book that treats all the elements that Nicholson has drawn together so thoroughly and well. It is quite essential.’ SYDNEY IMPROVISED MUSIC ASSOCIATION (Australia’s leading contemporary jazz organization)

‘A very good and well written book with lots of research and ideas to absorb, Nicholson continues to demonstrate he is one of the most scholarly jazz and jazz rock writers around, covering the state of jazz at the end of the 20th Century and moves into the new millennium. He is still a most readable writer too… This is an important book on music, with a heap of emphasis on jazz but applicable beyond the boundaries of jazz to other musical genres.’ PROGRESSIVE ROCK FORUM (progarchives.com)

‘This book is a seminal contribution and for that Nicholson must be congratulated…the central argument is that that there is a developing jazz scene outside of the US. Nicholson carefully articulates this argument with the appropriate evidence. The book is well researched, is eloquently written and well structured.’ AMAZON.CO.UK

‘Excellent research and thoroughly developed ideas make this book a very accurate account of the jazz scene today.’ CREATIVE WORLD.COM  (USA)

‘A serious and passionate discussion about jazz’s future…An art form which ought to constantly investigate the new needs voices like Nicholson’s to remind us of its purpose.’ THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

‘Deeply researched, provocative, well written, with a touch of the British sense of humour, this book will open an infinite debate about jazz in the new century. A must for every jazz lover.’  JAZZIT (Italy)

‘In this provocative book, British jazz critic Stuart Nicholson asks whether jazz is dead (or at least in a state of decay) in the US, then arguing innovation is more likely to be found in other countries, especially Europe. Nicholson is at his most persuasive when listing the factors that have stifled innovation in American jazz over the last couple of decades.’ THE AGE (Australia)

‘A new book by the British jazz critic Stuart Nicholson, Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has it Moved to a New Address), makes a timely examination of [global] developments. Nicholson uses “glocalisation”, an ugly but useful word, to describe the interaction of global and local musical practices.’ THE AUSTRALIAN (Australia)

‘Stuart Nicholson’s Is Jazz Dead? Or Has It Moved to a New Address is a smart analysis of contemporary jazz.’ GUIDELIVE.COM (USA)

‘Stuart Nicholson has written a powerful counterblast against those who want to place jazz in a mausoleum. Anyone who cares about the future of jazz as a vital and innovative art form should read this book.’  THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

AND LATER…

‘In Stuart Nicholson’s recent book Is Jazz Dead? Or Has It Moved to a New Address, he talks about the “glocalization” of jazz – a combination of globalization, as jazz is disseminated around the world, and localization, as it takes on “national imagery, folkloric and cultural concerns that give the music relevance to its ‘local’ musical community.” When [pianist] Bobo Stenson plays, it is all there.’ THOMAS CONRAD, JAZZ TIMES (USA)

‘The most recent emancipation of European Jazz from its American role model began after the turn of the millennium. Stuart Nicholson’s report for the New York Times and his subsequent book Is Jazz Dead? (Or Has It Moved To A New Address) caused outcries with his allegation that European jazz is more advanced in Europe than in the USA…which for American ears sounds like ‘The Russians are coming.’” DER SPIEGEL  (Germany)

‘One of the most provocative essays yet on jazz as a global style, and its economics, post–Lincoln Center.’ THE BOSTON PHOENIX (USA)

‘A milestone in recent European jazz studies.’ HELI REIMANN, ETNOMUSIKOLOGIA JOURNAL (Finland)

‘An excellent review, even though slightly dated (a new edition is needed!). Great and unflinching critique of Marsalis and the Young Lions, and excellent chapters on future jazz/jazztronica, various homegrown varieties of glocal jazz and specifically the Nordic tone–all among my favourite musics. No, jazz is not dead at all, and even in the USA it has revived somewhat since this was published. But it has gone through yet more transformations in the last decade, of course: which is the way it should be.’ GOODREADS.COM (USA)

‘A very good perspective (even if not exactly up to date since it’s from 2005) on the health of jazz music. The part which criticizes the conservatism of American jazz (and especially targets Wynton Marsalis) is pretty good, as well as that on the European jazz. All in all, a comprehensive orientation and guide to the contemporary world of jazz, helpful to go beyond the ‘60s and understand a music which is definitely worldwide – rather than just American.’ GOODREADS.COM (USA)


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Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved To A New Address)? Has Been Cited In Numerous Degree, Doctoral Dissertations and Published Academic Papers Including*:

  • The Instant Composers Pool and Improvisation Beyond Jazz
  • Cognition and the assessment of interaction episodes in jazz improvisation.
  • Musical Genre Distinction and the Uniculture: A Reply to Simon Frith’s “Is Jazz Popular Music?”
  • The “Finite” Art of Improvisation: Pedagogy and Power in Jazz Education
  • From the Margins to the Mainstream: Jazz, Social Relations, and Discourses of Value
  • The secret jazz fan: a tale of sublimation featuring film and music
  • An approach to improvisation pedagogy in post-secondary jazz programmes based on negative dialectics
  • Retaining a New Format: Jazz-Rap, Cultural Memory, and the New Cultural Politics of Difference
  • Jazz Aesthetics and the Democratic Imperative in Education: A dialogue
  • “Szegény rokonok”-A budapesti jazzszíntér konstrukciója [‘Poor Neighbours’ – The Structure of the Budapest Jazz Scene ]
  • Music From Out There, In Here: 25 Years of the London Jazz Festival
  • Almost Like a Real Band: Navigating a Gendered Jazz Art World
  • (De)Constructing Jazz through its performers, repertoire, and musical process: a comparison between Herbie Hancock’s boundary-defying albums Possibilities and River: The Joni Letters 
  • Creating Boundaries in the Virtual Jazz Community
  • The Music of Joni Mitchell
  • Reconstructing the Jazz Tradition
  • From the Cakewalk to the Foxtrot – Two-stepping between Dance and Propaganda: The Sound of World War I
  • Jazz – die klassische Musik der Globalisierung
  • Bastard Music
  • A Radical Reconsideration of Serialism and Chord Stranding Applied to  Personal jazz style (CD Recordings and Exegesis) Volume 1: Exegesis
  • Bra lärare i jazzimprovisation ­ deras värld och egenskaper
  • 100 Examples for the Modern Intermediate and Advanced Guitarist
  • Almost Like a Real Band: Navigating a Gendered Jazz Art World 
  • Playing With Capital: Inherited and Acquired Assets in a Jazz Audition
  • Trads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers: British Jazz 1960-1975
  • Mastering the Jazz Standard: Sayings and Doings of Artistic Valuation
  • No Pain, No Gain? Motivation and Self-Regulation In Music learning
  • The creation and validation of a Jazz Theory Measure: Implications for improvisation education
  • Typologies of the North: Mediating ‘Northerness’ in Jazz in Scandinavia
  • Sigur Rós’s Heima: An Icelandic Psychogeography
  • The collective organization of contemporary jazz musicians in the UK
  • Way out East: cowboys and pioneer women on Berlin’s jazz frontier
  • Human Rights and the Reinvention of Freedom
  • ‘The man that got away’: Gender inequalities in the consumption and production of jazz
  • Jazz for the Ipod generation : digital media and jazz in the UK
  • Skolning i jazz : Värde, selektion och studiekarriär vid folkhögskolornas musiklinjer
  • Cultural identity and transnational heritage in contemporary jazz: a practice-based study of composition and collaboration
  • “A new educational situation” – perspectives on jazz musical learning in the Swedish jazz journal OrkesterJournalen 1980–2010
  • Storytelling in jazz improvisation: Implications of a rich intermedial metaphor
  • The Boundaries of Modern Jazz Composition: Interaction between Tango and Jazz Music
  • Austral Jazz: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the Local Remaking of a Global Music Form
  • Flight to Germany: Paul Beatty, the Color Line, and the Berlin Wall
  • Premises of multi-competence
  • Storytelling as a tool of authentication in jazz discourse
  • The Creation of Meaning and Identity in the Dublin Jazz Scene, Past and Present
  • The Rise and Development of Contemporary European Big Band Writing: An Analysis of Composers Peter Herbolzheimer, George Gruntz, Kenny Wheeler, Helge Sunde, and Florian Ross
  • Beyond Harmony: Incorporating Rhythmic Elements of Jazz Improvisation through Pedagogy and Curriculum
  • Continuing the Quest for Legitimacy: The Institutionalization of Hip-Hop DJing Education
  • Jazz Aesthetics and the Democratic Imperative in Education: A dialogue
  • Jazz in Soviet Estonia from 1944 to 1953: meanings, spaces and paradoxes
  • Modernity, Cultural Anesthesia, and Sensory Agency: Technologies of the Listening Self in a US Collegiate Jazz Music Program
  • Music Teacher Quality and the Problem of Routine Expertise
  • Playing with Capital: Inherited and acquired capital in jazz school auditioning
  • Transatlanticism as Dutch National Spectacle: Universalism and Postpolitics at the North Sea Jazz Festival
  • A Study of Jazz Piano Pedagogy in Malaysia and Taiwan
  • An inquiry into improvisation: reconciling the differences between performance and composition
  • Different Placements of Spirit: African American Musicians Historicizing in Sound
  • Improvisation and the Politics of Error
  • Inside England’s ‘tap jams’ : improvisation, identity, and community
  • Jazz, pop, improvisation, national identity and the role of the jazz drummer
  • Mastering the jazz standard: Sayings and doings of artistic valuation
  • Posthumously Live: Canon Formation at Jazz at Lincoln Center through the Case of Mary Lou Williams
  • Retaining a New Format: Jazz-Rap, Cultural Memory, and the New Cultural Politics of Difference
  • Saving Jazz: Applied Ethnomusicology and America’s Classical Music
  • The Out-of-School Musical Engagements of Undergraduate Jazz Studies Majors
  • In Your Own Sweet Way: A Study of Effective Habits of Practice for Jazz Pianists with Application to All Musicians
  • Prince, Miles, and Maceo: Horns, Masculinity, and the Anxiety of Influence
  • Redesigning a Performance Practice: Synergising Woodwind Improvisation with Bespoke Software Technology
  • Rhymin’ And Stealin’ Musical Borrowing in Hip-Hop
  • Apurahajazzia : jazzmuusikot ja Taiteen keskustoimikunnan taiteilija-apurahat 2005–2010
  • Common ground: 1970s improvised music as part of a cross-genre Dutch ensemble culture
  • The Ideal Jazz Voice Sound: A Qualitative Interview Study
  • The Rise Of The Smooth Jazz Format: An Exploratory Study Of Kenny G And His Gang Of Smooth Operators
  • The collective organization of contemporary jazz musicians in the UK
  • “Sounds for Adventurous Listeners”: Willis Conover, the Voice of America, and the International Reception of Avant-garde Jazz in the 1960
  • Book of abstracts-Aesthethic and Creative
  • The secret jazz fan; a tale of sublimation featuring film and music
  • Smooth jazz: a case study in the relationships between commercial radio formats, audience research and music production
  • The Jazz Image
  • Argentine music styles contributions to contemporary jazz language : analysis of six original compositions
  • Crooning on the Fault Lines: Theorizing Jazz and Pop Vocal Singing Discourse in the Rock Era, 1955-1978
  • Jazz and American identity: Case study of a college course
  • The ABCs of Jazz Education. Rethinking Jazz Pedagogy
  • Sounds of Silence: The Politics and Poetics of Norwegian Jazz
  • The Rise Of The Smooth Jazz Format: An Exploratory Study Of Kenny G And His Gang Of Smooth Operators
  • Tallinn ’67 Jazz Festival: Myths and Memories
  • From Iran to Australia: Intercultural Exchanges in Music

*Details from Researchgate.net and SemanticScholar.org


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  • Thanks to Ekkehard Jost  1938 — 2017