Asian Improv: Defining Identity and Social Reality Through Music

Loren Yukio Kajikawa :

Mentor: Professor José David Saldivar, Ethnic Studies

Loren will undertake a case study of a group of musicians who have recorded for the AsianImprov Record (AIR) label. These musicians have pioneered a musical sensibility commonly known as "Asian American Jazz," which combines traditionally African American musical styles with Asian instruments and approaches to composition. Through a combination of oral histories with key members of the music community on the east and west coast, a musical analysis of albums recorded under the AIR label, and a review of the theoretical literature on ethno-racial formations, Loren will explore the complex relationship between social movements, cultural production and the rituals of ethnic identity formation. The resulting Ethnic Studies Senior Honors Thesis will inquire into what extent the idiom of music itself might be a useful paradigm of identity.