chapter  13
Conclusion: Toward a Collective Jazz Studies
ByTony Whyton
Pages 9

The contributions in this collection point to a new way of thinking about, and representing, jazz. Although jazz is often described as a collaborative music, the full potential and understanding of collective practices has yet to be realized, as writers have tended to fall back on romanticized notions of jazz as the expression of creative individuals, as a democratic and liberating force, without exploring the wider meanings and ramifications of these themes. The contributors to this book have added fresh material to an emerging field of enquiry, and the examples in this collection, which have drawn on both historically situated and contemporary case studies of collective practice, signal a move in jazz studies away from clichéd writings about singular genius figures toward a more complex understanding of the role of jazz and improvised music in everyday life. By considering collectivity at a musical, social and cultural level, we can begin to develop insights into the ecologies of jazz, why the music thrives-or fails-in particular settings, and how musicians nurture and support each other creatively, politically and economically.