On the outer Rim of Jazz: Mexican American Jazzmen and the making of the modern Pacific Borderlands, 1950-1969

Mike Amezcua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the 1950s to late 1960s, several Mexican American jazzmen challenged the racialized geographies of modern jazz that appropriated the West Coast as "native" to white jazzmen at the exclusion of Black and Latino musicians. This postwar reinvention by the jazz industry had commercial consequences for Latino jazzmen hoping to work within bebop and hard bop circles, who found that they had been written out of the landscape and even made foreign to it. Working from the outer rim of jazz's prescribed racial categories, artists such as Ralph Pe~na, Anthony Ortega, and Chuck Flores toiled, struggled, and resisted their invisibility on the West Coast. Along the way they also resisted currents that pushed Mexican American jazz musicians towards "Latin Jazz." They shaped their own jazz geographies by situating themselves within a "Modern Pacific Borderlands," an alternative geography for the circulation of new racial, transnational, and intersectional affinities. Through their travels and transnational collaborations, they blended their borderlands journeys with that of the Pacific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-431
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of social history
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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