Melba Liston Research Collective
The Center for Black Music Research continues its collaborative initiative with the Melba Liston Research Collective (MLRC). On November 3, 2012, MLRC members Sherrie Tucker (University of Kansas), Tammy Kernodle (Miami University, Ohio), Lisa Barg (McGill University), Dianthe “Dee” Spencer (San Francisco State University), and CBMR executive director Monica Hairston O’Connell presented a panel session at the joint annual meetings in New Orleans of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for Music Theory. The panel, titled Beyond the Solo: Jazz, Gender, and Collaboration, promoted the argument that “a re-centering of collaborative practices that abound in jazz practice and history can enrich our approaches to jazz studies, feminist musicology, gendered and raced economies of the music industry and labor, and music education.” It examined collaborative practices integral to jazz—including composer/arranger collaboration, jazz festival production and musical direction, film-scoring, and oral histories of jazz musicians—through the lens of Liston’s own work and career as a way of “[raising] questions about jazz, gender, and collaboration that are missed when the improvised horn solo (regardless of the sex of the player) is the central focus of jazz studies.”
Papers included “Black Women Working Together: Negotiating Gendered Contexts in Jazz Collaboration” by Tammy Kernodle; “Gender, Arranging, and Collaboration in Jazz: The Weston-Liston Partnership” by Lisa Barg; “Melba Liston, Filmscore Composer: Crossing Events” by Dianthe “Dee” Spencer; and “Not One to Toot Her Own Horn: Melba Liston’s Oral Histories and Presentations” by Monica Hairston O’Connell and Sherrie Tucker. The papers will serve as the genesis for an interdisciplinary special issue of Black Music Research Journal dedicated to Melba Liston, scheduled for publication in spring 2014.