Jazz, space and labor

Mixed media aestheticization of work songs in Jason Moran’s STAGED


  • Kimberly Hannon Teal University of Arkansas




Jason Moran, African-American art, Savoy Ballroom, Three Deuces, Slugs’ Saloon, Angola Prison


Pianist and composer Jason Moran's multimedia project STAGED debuted at the 2015Venice Biennale and was later expanded for an exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.Its centerpieces are three sculptures: life-size replicas of stages from venuesnow closed. Live performances occur on the stages within the galleries that host theexhibition, and recorded sound plays when performers are absent. These stages originallyappeared in the Savoy Ballroom, a major social dancing hub, the Three Deuces, asmall club associated with early bebop, and Slugs', a haven for free jazz. Through themixture of musical genres and historical eras created on both sonic and visual levels,Moran transforms the notion of a single thread of jazz history progressing through timefrom folk and popular culture toward high art into a web that elevates everyday formswhile questioning assumptions about the freedom and autonomy of highbrow forms.

Author Biography

Kimberly Hannon Teal, University of Arkansas

Kimberly Hannon Teal is an assistant professor of musicology at the University ofArkansas. Her research addresses contemporary jazz, and she is interested in how liveperformance contexts contribute to musical experiences and meaning. She is currentlyworking on a book tentatively titled 'Jazz Places: How Performance Spaces Shape JazzHistory', and her research has appeared in American Music, Jazz Perspectives, and TheJournal of the Society for American Music.


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How to Cite

Hannon Teal, K. (2020). Jazz, space and labor: Mixed media aestheticization of work songs in Jason Moran’s STAGED. Jazz Research Journal, 13(1-2), 93–109. https://doi.org/10.1558/jazz.37803