Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect

Conference taking place at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK), 21–23 October 2016

(The University of Surrey is located approximately 25 miles south west of London, within easy reach of London Heathrow and Gatwick airports)

Keynote speakers: Ingrid Monson (Harvard), and Tony Whyton (Birmingham City)


Call for Proposals

The Department of Music and Media at the University of Surrey will be hosting a three-day conference entitled ‘Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: Retrospect and Prospect’, 21–23 October 2016

This conference aims to undertake a wide-ranging scholarly and creative investigation of the music, history, legacy, cultural significance and wider socio-political, artistic and intellectual contexts of these two giants of jazz.

The conference committee invites proposals for scholarly, research-led contributions on any aspect of this theme.

Contributions may be in the form of papers, panels of papers, papers with supporting performance elements, or presentations of creative practice, performance, and compositional research.

As well as proposals focussing directly on Davis and Coltrane, we welcome proposals in which either of these two artists might serve as important springboards for the discussion of, or creative response to, wider cultural issues or other specific, related artists and musics.

As a guide, contributions might address the theme from any of the following perspectives, but are not limited to these suggestions:

  • musical analysis
  • historical, cultural, socio-political contexts (origins, legacy, influence, working conditions, reception, issues of race and the African-American experience)
  • other interdisciplinary approaches
  • performance practices
  • music and the body/embodiment
  • recording, production processes, technology, discographical studies
  • musical/artistic collaborations
  • re-workings and re-interpretations
  • issues in transcription
  • revisionary readings
  • canon formation, re-formation, or dissolution
  • media representations and profiles
  • relationships with other musical styles/genres and other art forms
  • global, ‘ethnic crossover’, European, and other non-US jazz
  • critical theory

Proposals for papers (20 mins, plus 10 mins discussion), papers with additional performance elements (30 mins), predominantly creative-practice-, performance-, and composition-led presentations (30 mins), and themed panel discussions, (60–90 mins), are invited as follows:

  • For individual papers, and papers with supporting performance elements, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words
  • For predominantly creative-practice-, performance-, and composition-led presentations, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, and where appropriate a link to relevant audio material
  • For themed panel discussions, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, and a list of participants

Proposals should be submitted by e-mail to Jeremy Barham ( no later than Friday 29 January, 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by 26 February, 2016, and details of the conference programme and the registration process will be announced shortly thereafter.

Please use the same address for informal enquiries. Details of the conference webpage will be announced shortly.

The language of the conference will be English.


Conference committee:

Dr Jeremy Barham (University of Surrey)

Dr Milton Mermikides (University of Surrey)

Professor Mervyn Cooke (University of Nottingham)

Dr Peter Elsdon (University of Hull)

Dr Gabriel Solis (University of Illinois)