Catalan Review

TETE MONTOLIU, BLINDNESS, AND BARCELONA IN THE KEY OF MODERN JAZZ

Catalan Review (2020), 34, (1), 1–18.

Abstract

As a contribution toward enriching the scholarly interest in the full spectrum of Iberian jazz, this article explores the life, work, and international reception of Catalan pianist Tete Montoliu (1933-1997) within a cultural studies framework. First and foremost, it offers a correction for a tradition of American jazz historiography that in the words of E. Taylor Atkins “has consistently failed to look overseas for jams of consequence” (xii). Moreover, to explore Tete’s accomplishments is to correct for certain tendencies within the existing scholarship on jazz in Spain. As Arribas García highlights, the fact that jazz research has paid more attention to the 1960s and 1980s than the 1970s — the latter being the decade of Spain’s Transition from a dictatorial regime to a constitutional monarchy — is a natural impediment to learning more about the jazz pianist, who recorded over twenty albums during that decade alone. His strong Catalan identity and his connection with the city of Barcelona also distinguish his music from what might be called “Spanish” jazz. Finally, this article also contributes to the need, consistent with the disability studies framework outlined by Neil Lerner and Joseph N. Straus in Sounding Off: Theorizing Disability in Music (2006), to acknowledge that disability is everywhere in music.

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Author details

FRASER, BENJAMIN