Free Jazz Communism

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Free Jazz Communism is a collection of writings and interviews about Archie Shepp and the Bill Dixon Quartet's legendary performance at the 8th World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki in 1962. The festival was attended by over 18,000 young communists, students and socialists from over 100 countries around the world.

The book explores the idea that this particular performance subverted of the idea that free jazz represents Western values of freedom and identity, and examines the politics of free jazz music in light of global decolonisation movements, anti-war activism, structures of racial capitalism, and forms of avant-garde music.

The highlight of this book is the reproduction of three hard-to-find short pieces written by Archie Shepp himself, who was a talented poet and writer as well as a composer and saxophonist. The first piece, “An Artist Speaks Bluntly”, is a key statement on the politics of free jazz. It disrupted the order of things when it was written in 1962 and continues to resonate today.

A beautifully made, fascinating book at that crossroads where music and art intersects with politics and culture.

Edited by Sezgin Boynik and Taneli Viitahuhta.
Paperback, 242 pages, 13 x 20cm.