Good reads: Musician Anthony Branker ’80

Looking for a good read? PAW asked some professors for their recommendations.

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Anthony D.J. Branker ’80

The Anthony H.P. Lee ’79 Senior Lecturer in Jazz Studies
Founder and Director, Program in Jazz Studies
Associate Director, Program in Musical Performance
 
FAVORITE BOOK TO TEACH:
Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation by Paul Berliner (The University of Chicago Press, 1994)
 
I often reference Paul Berliner’s Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation in my research and teaching, and simply find it to be an inspiring read. This historically significant ethnomusicological work examines how jazz musicians learn to improvise and speak the language of jazz, both as an individual activity and through social interaction with like-minded peers, experienced jazz performers, or utilizing the jazz community as an educational system. As Berliner notes, this book “tells the story of the remarkableness of the training and rigorous musical thinking that underline improvisation [and] elucidates the creative processes that lie at the heart of the music culture of jazz.” Plus, there are a number of incredible interview excerpts from noted jazz artists who share their experiences as creators and practitioners, including Wynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch, Dizzy Gillespie, Curtis Fuller, Lee Konitz, et al.
 

MUST-READ BOOKS IN YOUR FIELD:
Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change, by Maxine Greene (Jossey-Bass, 1995)
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire (Continuum, 1970/2006)  
 
FAVORITE PLEASURE RECORDINGS:
Guitarist Pat Metheny’s Still Life (Talking) (Geffen Records, 1987)
Trumpeter Woody Shaw’s Little Red’s Fantasy (Muse Records, 1978)
 
CURRENTLY READING:
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, by Robin D. G. Kelley (Free Press, 2009)
 

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