Ensemble and otherness: The jazz musician in Robert Altman’s Kansas City (1996)

Journal article


Birtwistle, A. 2022. Ensemble and otherness: The jazz musician in Robert Altman’s Kansas City (1996). Savoirs en prisme. (16 (part 2)), pp. 59-74. https://doi.org/10.34929/sep.vi16.257
AuthorsBirtwistle, A.
Abstract

This article examines the representation of the jazz musician in Robert Altman’s 1996 crime drama Kansas City. The film features contemporary musicians playing the roles of notable jazz musicians of the 1930s – including Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams and Ben Webster – and it places the Kansas City jazz scene at the center of the film’s narrative.In form similar to the cutting contest that lies at the heart of the film’s story, this article offers two differing perspectives on the role of the jazz musician in Kansas City. One perspective suggests that, in the film, jazz makes it possible for people to work collectively, while the other suggests that jazz serves as a marker of otherness and diffe-rence. These themes are examined in relation to the political power of jazz, and the article examines how these are articulated through the music that plays throughout film. The film’s uncompromising engagement with issues of race and representation weaves through the narrative’s fugue-like structure with diegetic and non-diegetic jazz music. At the film’s core is the representation of the figure of the jazz musician and the world they inhabit at the epicenter of the jazz world, Kansas City in the 1930s.

KeywordsSpaces of optimism; Race; Representation; Identity; Jazz performance
Year2022
JournalSavoirs en prisme
Journal citation(16 (part 2)), pp. 59-74
PublisherOpen Journal Systems
ISSN2260-7838
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.34929/sep.vi16.257
Official URLhttps://savoirsenprisme.univ-reims.fr/index.php/sep/article/view/257
Publication dates
Print15 Dec 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Jan 2023
Publisher's version
License
Output statusPublished
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/938zx/ensemble-and-otherness-the-jazz-musician-in-robert-altman-s-kansas-city-1996

Download files


Publisher's version
  • 6
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 3
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Beyond beauty: Taiwan from above (2013)
Andy Birtwistle 2022. Beyond beauty: Taiwan from above (2013). in: Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, Darrell William Davis and Wenchi Lin (ed.) 32 New Takes on Taiwan Cinema University of Michigan Press.
Jack Ellitt as director: Documentary films of the 1940s
Birtwistle, A. 2021. Jack Ellitt as director: Documentary films of the 1940s. Journal of British Cinema and Television. 18 (3), pp. 329-359. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2021.0577
Start here: Sounding the materiality of the compact audio cassette
Birtwistle, A. 2021. Start here: Sounding the materiality of the compact audio cassette. Resonance: The Journal of Sound and Culture. 2 (2), pp. 192-217. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2021.2.2.192
Material resistance: towards a politics of listening
Birtwistle, A. 2020. Material resistance: towards a politics of listening. Echo. (1).
Le Moulin: audiovisual non-synchronization and the making of a historical documentary
Birtwistle, A. 2020. Le Moulin: audiovisual non-synchronization and the making of a historical documentary. in: Pickowicz, P.G. and Zhang, Y. (ed.) Locating Taiwan Cinema in the Twenty-First Century Amherst, New York Cambria Press. pp. 153-171
Big Paul: The death of video and the return of the repressed
Birtwistle, A. 2019. Big Paul: The death of video and the return of the repressed. in: Lissel, E., Jutz, G. and Jukić, N. (ed.) Reset the Apparatus! A Survey of the Photographic and the Filmic in Contemporary Art Berlin/Boston De Gruyter. pp. 91-104
Start Here - the art of the audio cassette
Birtwistle, A. 2017. Start Here - the art of the audio cassette. Canterbury Start Here.
Meaning and musicality: sound-image relations in the films of John Smith
Birtwistle, A. 2017. Meaning and musicality: sound-image relations in the films of John Smith. in: Rogers, H. and Barham, J. (ed.) The Music and Sound of Experimental Film New York Oxford University Press. pp. 167-183
House
Birtwistle, A. 2014. House. The Holy Underground, Baltimore, USA 11 Jul 2014
House
Birtwistle, A. 2014. House. Spectacle, 124 South 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY, 11249 05 - 21 Jun 2014
House
Birtwistle, A. 2013. House.
Review: Sync: Stylistics of Hieroglyphic Time James Tobias, Sync: Stylistics of Hieroglyphic Time. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2010, 304 pp.
Birtwistle, A. 2011. Review: Sync: Stylistics of Hieroglyphic Time James Tobias, Sync: Stylistics of Hieroglyphic Time. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2010, 304 pp. Screen. 52 (4), pp. 528-531. https://doi.org/10.1093/screen/hjr049
Listen
Birtwistle, A. and Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury 2013. Listen. in: Stone, H. (ed.) John Smith Canterbury Sidney Cooper Gallery.
Electroacoustic composition and the British documentary tradition
Birtwistle, A. 2016. Electroacoustic composition and the British documentary tradition. in: Greene, L. and Kulezic-Wilson, D. (ed.) Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media: Integrated Soundtracks Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 387-402
Noise, agency, and the sound of obsolete technology
Birtwistle, A. 2017. Noise, agency, and the sound of obsolete technology. FKW // Zeitschrift für Geschlechterforschung und visuelle Kultur. 61.
Photographic sound art and the silent modernity of Walter Ruttmann's 'Weekend' (1930).
Birtwistle, A. 2016. Photographic sound art and the silent modernity of Walter Ruttmann's 'Weekend' (1930). New Soundtrack. 6 (2), pp. 109-127. https://doi.org/10.3366/sound.2016.0086
House
Birtwistle, A. 2014. House. Osnabrueck, Germany 20 - 24 Apr 2014
House
Birtwistle, A. 2014. House. New York Jun 2014
Radical conformity: Len Lye and the theorisation of film practice
Birtwistle, A. 2015. Radical conformity: Len Lye and the theorisation of film practice.
Heavy weather: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tsai Ming-liang, and the poetics of environmental sound
Birtwistle, A. 2014. Heavy weather: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tsai Ming-liang, and the poetics of environmental sound. Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 32 (1), pp. 72-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2012.757529
White noise: the representation of modernity in the films of Pai Ching-jui
Birtwistle, A. 2012. White noise: the representation of modernity in the films of Pai Ching-jui. in: Chang, B. and Klöter, H. (ed.) Imaging and Imagining Taiwan: Identity representation and cultural politics Wiesbaden Harrassowitz Verlag.
Douglas Gordon and cinematic audiovisuality in the age of television: experiencing the experience of cinema
Birtwistle, A. 2012. Douglas Gordon and cinematic audiovisuality in the age of television: experiencing the experience of cinema. Visual Culture in Britain. 13 (1), pp. 101-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/14714787.2012.641780
The Turner Prize: lead monkey of democracy
Birtwistle, A. 2000. The Turner Prize: lead monkey of democracy.
Noise, memory, monotony and drones: the sound of film technology
Birtwistle, A. 2008. Noise, memory, monotony and drones: the sound of film technology.
Noise, memory, monotony and drones: The sound of film technology
Birtwistle, A. 2009. Noise, memory, monotony and drones: The sound of film technology.
White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui
Birtwistle, A. 2009. White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui.
White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui
Birtwistle, A. 2009. White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui.
White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui
Birtwistle, A. 2009. White Noise: The representation of Modernity in the films of Bai Jing-rui.
Disorganising organised sound: The silent modernity of Walter Ruttman's Weekend
Birtwistle, A. 2009. Disorganising organised sound: The silent modernity of Walter Ruttman's Weekend.
Cinesonica: sounding film and video
Birtwistle, A. 2010. Cinesonica: sounding film and video. Manchester Manchester University Press.
L'Adventurra (The Adventure)
Birtwistle, A. 1997. L'Adventurra (The Adventure).
Robert Altman’s Kansas City (1996) and the spaces of jazz
Fox, K. and Birtwistle, A. 2008. Robert Altman’s Kansas City (1996) and the spaces of jazz.
Real-time
Birtwistle, A. 2000. Real-time. in: Pearson, R. and Simpson, P. (ed.) Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory London Routledge.
Text
Birtwistle, A. 2000. Text. in: Pearson, R. and Simpson, P. (ed.) Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory London Routledge.
Mode of production
Birtwistle, A. 2000. Mode of production. in: Pearson, R. and Simpson, P. (ed.) Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory London Routledge.
Independent cinema
Birtwistle, A. 2000. Independent cinema. in: Pearson, R. and Simpson, P. (ed.) Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory London Routledge.
Stories of the Eye - Harbouring History
Birtwistle, A. 2007. Stories of the Eye - Harbouring History. Vertigo. 3 (5), p. 31.
Marking time and sounding difference: Brubeck, temporality and modernity
Birtwistle, A. 2010. Marking time and sounding difference: Brubeck, temporality and modernity. Popular Music. 29 (3), pp. 351-371. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143010000243