Polystylism and Stylistic Adaptation in 1970s Jazz-Rock: The Case of Return to Forever’s “Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (Part I & Part II)”

Justin Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This article examines Chick Corea’s jazz fusion composition by applying Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke’s concept of “stylistic adaptation” (1973), a specific type of intertextuality, to Return to Forever’s “Duel of the Jester and Tyrant (Part I and Part II)” from Romantic Warrior (1976). Closer investigation of intra-musical features from classical and jazz styles will show how artists from different musical backgrounds and training came to sound strikingly similar despite their generic separation (in this case, jazz fusion and progressive rock). Through such an analysis, I argue that a re-evaluation of jazz fusion as not simply what Amiri Baraka called “dollar-sign music” is important, not only for how its reception reflected specific anxieties regarding race and changing global economic systems in the 1970s, but also to demonstrate how identifying the sonic markers of these genres are a key component to understanding them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-205
Number of pages26
JournalJazz Perspectives
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • fusion
  • Chick Corea
  • return to forever
  • jazz-rock
  • stylistic adaptaion
  • polystylism
  • intertextuality

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