Funk Jamming in New Orleans. Musical communication in practice and theory

11. jun. 2018

This article reports long-term fieldwork on jamming funk musicians’ interaction from a combined anthropological, ethnographic, and grounded theory perspective. The study draws from over 20 years of data collection through personal interviews with New Orleans funk musicians, personal experiences with jamming and second-lining, and participant observation of funk jam sessions and second line parades. Also the author’s personal funk jam teaching experiences are included. The article is in four parts to mark the historical phases in the longitudinal research process towards a theoretical, empirical argument for how funk musicians think and act when they jam. The final theory suggests funk jamming to be guided by overarching notions of “making the music feel good” and “making them dance” and in an iterative spiral process of “open approach,” “prioritized focusing,” “categorical reflection,” and “artistic realization.” Based on this, some educational implications for learning and teaching how to jam conclude the article.

The article can be found here: