Tag Archives: Jazz

Categories and networks in jazz evolution: The overlap between bandleaders’ jazz sidemen from 1930 to 1969

Charles Kirschbaum “Categories and networks in jazz evolution: The overlap between bandleaders’ jazz sidemen from 1930 to 1969” Poetics (2015, 52, 154–178).


This paper expands on Peterson’s process model for historical changes in jazz. Peterson suggests that, given certain circumstances, musical genres migrate from ‘low-brow’ to ‘high-brow’. I test this proposition for jazz by investigating whether bandleaders were associated through the same sidemen (‘sidemen overlap’) across time, and the underlying logics leading to these overlaps. I confirm Peterson’s model to the extent that sidemen overlap shifts from a ‘commercial’ logic to a ‘style-based’ logic. From 1930 to 1949, sidemen overlap between bandleaders is mainly predicted by recording session volumes (akin to ‘commercial logic’). From 1945 to 1969, style similarity emerges as an important predictor of sidemen overlap. I extend Peterson’s process model by providing a more nuanced account, based on social networks. I show substantive collaboration across styles. As a consequence, stylistic shifts are not as abrupt as originally depicted. I also explore how past associations become increasingly stronger in terms of explaining sidemen overlap. Furthermore, race emerges as an important variable in explaining the same phenomenon. During the thirties, non-African-American homophily is high. After this period, African-American homophily increases steadily until the late fifties, decreasing again during the sixties. Continue reading

Shaping Jazz with Damon Phillips

bookjacketIn 2013, Damon Phillips, James P. Gorman Professor of Business Strategy at Columbia University, published the book Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels and the Global Emergence of an Art Form with Princeton University Press. This book is filled with insightful arguments and findings for the study of economic life and, in particular, of the role that organizations and geography play in shaping cultural markets. The book combines network analysis and archival research in innovative ways while, at the same time, presenting Damon’s thoughts and stories which gives the reader a glimpse into the author’s creative mind. Damon and I met to chat about his book. Below I present a summary of our conversation with the attempt to provide you with some “backstage” information about this relevant and enjoyable piece of work: Continue reading