The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is currently a partner of the Cheltenham Festivals, and organises a set of public lectures and panel talks by AHRC-funded researchers at each of the four festivals (jazz, music, literature, science) through the year.
I have worked with Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the AHRC to curate the series of talks at this year’s festival. I am really looking forward to it. There are three talks:
- ‘Denys Baptiste: Struggle and Liberation.’ Saturday 3 May, 6-7 pm. The history of jazz is inseparable from the struggle for racial equality and Denys Baptiste’s suite Now is the Time…Let Freedom Ring captures this in music. He talks to leading British jazz academic Professor Tony Whyton about how he drew from Dr. Martin Luther King’s powerful speech.
- ‘What makes a jazz legend?’ Sunday 4 May, 6.45-7.45 pm. What does it take for a jazz musician to become iconic? Professors George McKay (AHRC Leadership Fellow) and Tony Whyton (Project Director, Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities) discuss how musicians made jazz history — or got written out — from Winifred Atwell to John Coltrane.
- ‘The story of British jazz festivals’. Monday 5 May, 5-6 pm. Professor George McKay (AHRC Leadership Fellow) leads a panel of festival organisers and researchers, including the Festival’s Programme Advisor Tony Dudley-Evans, as they trace the memories and significance of Britain’s jazz festivals, from their riotous origins at Beaulieu Jazz Festival in 1956 to today’s diverse festival scene. Also features Alison Eales, AHRC-funded PhD student, who holds a Collaborative Doctoral Award between the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Jazz Festival.