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Home / Centers and Areas of Study / Center for Popular Music Studies / Beyond Genre: Jazz As Popular Music, April 20-21, 2018

Beyond Genre: Jazz As Popular Music, April 20-21, 2018

The Center for Popular Music Studies and the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University are happy to host Beyond Genre: Jazz as Popular Music.

The intersections of jazz and popular music are myriad. Louis Armstrong recorded with Jimmie Rodgers and Bessie Smith; Carlos Santana recorded with Alice Coltrane; Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly featured Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, and Kamasi Washington; George Benson topped the Billboard 200 in 1976; Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Miles Davis are all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; consider also the careers of The Bad Plus, Benny Goodman, Spyro Gyra, Kenny G, Norah Jones, and countless others.
Jazz scholars have long grappled with the instability of genre, with its unexpected changes and re- definitions. Yet while recent scholarship has fostered more inclusive conceptions of both “popular music” and “jazz,” the tendency remains to treat them as separate categories. It is these ever-changing boundaries that inspire “Beyond Genre: Jazz as Popular Music,” a conference dedicated to exploring the middle ground between popular music and new jazz studies. 


Program: The conference will take place in CWRU’s Clark Hall. (rooms TBA) 

The venue:  The area surrounding CWRU, known as University Circle, boasts more cultural institutions in a single setting than you’ll find in any comparably-sized city, including the Cleveland Museum of Art,  the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Cinematheque,  and the Cleveland Botanical Gardens,  to name just a few. And of course the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives are just a few miles from the CWRU campus and are easily accessible.

Hotel: We have a special rate for the conference at the University Circle Courtyard Marriott. The reservation link with the special rate is here. A list of other local hotels is here; the Glidden House is also right on the CWRU campus; the Tudor Arms (a Hilton/Doubletree property) is a 10 minute walk from the student center, and the Intercontinental Cleveland and Intercontinental Suites are both a 15-minute walk to campus from their location at the Cleveland Clinic.

Transportation: Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a quick 20- 30 minute taxi ride to the University area. There is also the Cleveland Rapid transit system,  which runs a very inexpensive light rail that originates at the airport. Just take the train (the Red Line) to the Little Italy exit; from there you’ve got a five minute walk to the conference hotel and/or the CWRU campus.

For those driving to the event each day, there is a fair amount of street parking near the student center with four-hour meters. The easiest bet, however, is to park in the main parking lot for the Tinkham Veale Student Center, which is the lot under Severance Hall right next door. It’s Lot P-29, the Campus Center Garage.

Greyhound Bus service can be used to access any of the areas surrounding Cleveland. Located on Chester Avenue and East 13th Street, this station is a $14 cab ride away from campus. Visit the Greyhound website to purchase tickets, or call 216.781.1400 for the local Greyhound station.

Amtrak also services Cleveland through Chicago and surrounding eastern seaboard areas. Located at Lakefront Station at 200 Memorial Highway. Call 216.861.0105, or visit the Amtrak website for more information.

Evening event: On Saturday, April 21, there will be a performance at Nighttown, Cleveland’s premiere jazz club, by the David Ake Group—with Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Peter Epstein (saxophones), Drew Gress (bass), Mark Ferber (drums)— celebrating their new Posi-Tone Records release, Humanities. The Case Western Reserve University Jazz Ensemble will play the first set of the evening. Nighttown is just a 15 minute walk from the conference hotel. All conference participants will receive free admission to the show. Attendees are responsible for their own dinner and drinks.

RRHOF Library and Archives: If you’re interested in visiting or doing research at the Rock Hall’s Library & Archives while you’re in town, you must call the main number at 216-515-1956, or email them at Reservations are required and space is limited. The Library & Archives is not open on Saturdays. 


Questions? Contact CPMS Director Daniel Goldmark at or 216-368-2526.

Page last modified: March 15, 2018