Extended Play

Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein

Extended Play

Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 25 b&w photographs Published: May 1994

Author: John Corbett

Cultural Studies, Music > Popular Music

In Extended Play, one of the country's most innovative music writers conducts a wide-ranging tour through the outer limits of contemporary music. Over the course of more than twenty-five portraits, interviews, and essays, John Corbett engages artists from lands as distant as Sweden, Siberia, and Saturn. With a special emphasis on African American and European improvisers, the book explores the famous and the little known, from John Cage and George Clinton to Anthony Braxton and Sun Ra. Employing approaches as diverse as the music he celebrates, Corbett illuminates the sound and theory of funk and rap, blues and jazz, contemporary classical, free improvisation, rock, and reggae.
Using cultural critique and textual theory, Corbett addresses a broad spectrum of issues, such as the status of recorded music in postmodern culture, the politics of self-censorship, experimentation, and alternativism in the music industry, and the use of metaphors of space and madness in the work of African American musicians. He follows these more theoretically oriented essays with a series of extensive profiles and in-depth interviews that offer contrasting and complementary perspectives on some of the world’s most creative musicians and their work. Included here are more than twenty original photographs as well as a meticulously annotated discography. The result is one of the most thoughtful, and most entertaining, investigations of contemporary music available today.


Extended Play is a poststructural tour de force.” — Steve Sweeney-Turner, Musical Times

“Corbett has honed in on some of the most intriguing music happening today and his discussion is never less than lively, intelligent, and politically concerned.” — Ben Watson, The Wire

“[A] frequently revealing, frequently frustrating book, and it's different from the usual collections of jazz journalism for two reasons. The first reason is Corbett's wide range of interests. . . . The other special quality of Extended Play is its pure, clear focus on creativity.” — John Litweiler, Chicago Tribune

Extended Play offers rare, caring glimpses of gifted musicians few music fans know, but should.” — Publishers Weekly

"Fascinating and at times brilliant, Extended Play addresses a number of issues that circle around ‘music’ in ways that are new and stimulating, and explores them with wit, intelligence, and sophistication. Corbett is an important thinker, as well as a good journalist—a rare combination." — John Szwed, John Musser Professor of African and Afro-American studies, American studies, Music, and Anthropology, Yale University

"One of the most important aspects of Corbett’s trawl along the musical fringe is that it denies the genre definitions that usually constrain music books—this is not a book about jazz or rock or art music but about all of them. It is precisely this which enables him to address the broad questions about the effect of technology, globalization, etc. on our sense of what it is to make and listen to music. An outstanding work—lucidly written, well organized, engaged, and intelligent. It is certainly one of the most stimulating books on music I've read in the last couple of years." — Simon Frith, author of Sound Effects and Music for Pleasure

"Yes, contemporary musical creativity is alive and well and well-celebrated in this valuable book. Great music that often has audiences of three people is here discussed along with great music that has audiences of thousands." — Michael Snow, film, sound, and visual artist, and editor of a collection of essays, Music/Sound


Availability: In stock
Price: $28.95

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John Corbett is a a regular contributor to such magazines as Down Beat, Option, The Wire, and New Art Examiner, and his scholarly work has appeared in October, Stanford Humanities Review, and Semiotext(e). He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and hosts two weekly radio programs.

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1473-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1456-1
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