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Nordic Tone: Redrawing borders of culture and boundaries of style.

Medb�e, Haftor



Historians and educators have traditionally presented the century long evolution of jazz in a linear, canonical fashion. Applications of this model are often limited to the music’s domestic evolution, paying scant heed to activities outside the USA. Even where the existence of non-American jazz is acknowledged, it is more often than not excluded from the parameters of historiography and critique.
Over the past forty years, the Nordic contribution to jazz has in many ways come to mirror the multicultural melting pot that first spawned the genre at the beginning of the 20th Century. Nordic Tone is identified as such despite having roots in the American tradition, coupled with a ‘receptive ear’ to global contemporary and historical influences. In championing ethnically and stylistically diverse cultural fusions under the Nordic Tone banner, labels such as ECM and Rune Grammofon have established an alternative imagining of established jazz practice and presentation. The hybridized outcomes of these approaches have confounded traditional conceptions of the jazz tradition, challenging discourses of historical succession and genre identity.
Despite its breadth of cultural inclusion, Nordic Tone has nonetheless been consistently represented as an essentialist ideal by commentators and critics, imagined within the sphere of geographically based, national identity. Nordic scenery and folklore are liberally applied in the contextualisation of this branch of Northern European jazz, most often ignoring the complexities in cultural background of its musicians and supporting industries. This paper will use practice-based and academic research to show how an ostensibly American musical form has been appropriated and reinterpreted to enable the expression of cultural individuality that, more than simply drawing on the national heritage of its creators, is both outward looking and receptive to global influence.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name International Musicological Society
Start Date Jul 1, 2012
End Date Jul 7, 2012
Publication Date 2012-07
Deposit Date Aug 3, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 3, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-9
Keywords Jazz; Nordic Tone; cultural identity;
Public URL
Contract Date Aug 3, 2014


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