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Raeburn, B.B. (2004). Psychoanalysis and jazz. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):995-997.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):995-997

Psychoanalysis and jazz

Reported by:
Moderator Bruce Boyd Raeburn

After a brief introduction of the topic and panelists by the chair, the panel opened to a full house, with standing room only well into the hallway. Steven Rosenbloom presented his paper ‘Jazz and psychoanalysis’, which focused on three issues common to jazz and psychoanalysis: 1) formation of identity through disciplined work, mentorship, individuation and management of creative blocks; 2) building community through communication, citing Steven Knoblauch on use of verbal and non-verbal cues by the analyst as a parallel to mutual listening in a jazz combo; 3) comparison of the relationship between structure of jazz improvisation and free association, citing the work of David Lichtenstein on metaphoric cycles in jazz improvisation and interpretation of dreams and Martin Nass on ego functions in music appreciation. Rosenbloom concluded, the aim of all the rigorous training in both areas is to produce j azz artists who are capable of creating music whether via composition or improvisation on a regular basis, and psychoanalysts who are free enough in their thinking to ponder what their patients are bringing them in multiple manners so as to be effective in their work.

Richard Karmel's ‘Realizing Cherokee: The internalization of a swing melody into a Bebop masterpiece’ provided further examination of the development of jazz function and identity in the evolution of Charlie Parker's improvisational masterwork Koko, a jazz ‘realization’ based on the chords of Ray Noble's swing era hit Cherokee.

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