De Souza Receives Award for Excellence in Jazz Scholarship

A journal article by Western music theory professor Jonathan De Souza has received the 2023 Award for Excellence in Jazz Scholarship. The article—titled “Melodic Transformation in George Garzone’s Triadic Chromatic Approach; or, Jazz, Math, and Basket Weaving”—was published in the Fall 2022 issue of Music Theory Spectrum. The award was announced by the Society for Music Theory Jazz Interest Group, at this year’s joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory, with the following citation:

De Souza’s article skillfully maps out a sophisticated theoretical construct for George Garzone’s Triadic Chromatic Approach to improvisation informed by a wide variety of perspectives—from transformational analysis and Markov-chain models to embodied cognition and the anthropology of weaving—all while giving voice to the experiences of improvisers who use this technique. The award committee also appreciated De Souza's engagement with a producer of musical knowledge from outside the traditional spaces occupied by music theory. These aspects, coupled with the author’s lucid writing and the article’s synthesis of important trends in the field of jazz theory, make it a deserving winner of this award.

De Souza first presented his work on the Triadic Chromatic Approach at a Don Wright Faculty of Music Graduate Colloquium and the Society for Music Theory Conference in 2014.