First “Voices in the Humanities” Lecture with Fumi Okiji

February 28, 2023

On Thursday, March 2nd, 4:00 pm in HQ 276, Prof. Fumi Okiji (Berkeley) will give a talk entitled “The indispensability and inadequacy of jazz records,” the first of three lectures in our new “Voices in the Humanities” series. The talk will be followed by a reception to which students and Hums faculty are warmly invited. 


This talk takes the form of a dialectical riffing on the indispensability and the inadequacy of jazz recording as a way to appreciate the music’s creative process. It is suggested that jazz recording congeals and obscures how jazz work is done, and compromises the incompletion, partiality, and imperfection encoded the practice.  Jazz records are shown, on the other hand, to be of crucial importance to the development of the musical tradition—its language and material. This technology facilitates iconoclastic apprenticeship and temporally-dispersed collaboration, even as the work-thing fails to adequately represent the spirit and practice of the music. This discussion will be anchored on various Charles Mingus-led ensembles’ performances of “Fables of Faubus.”