Jazz and substance abuse: Road to creative genius or pathway to premature death


Jazz and substance abuse: Road to creative genius or pathway to premature death
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Jazz music and jazz musicians have often been linked for better or worse to the world of addictive substances. Many talented jazz musicians either had their careers sidetracked or prematurely ended due to their addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. The rigors of nightly performances, travel, and for many musicians a disapproving society exacted a toll that impacted the creativity of many artists of the genre. The fact that drug and alcohol use had a significant impact on the performance levels of numerous jazz musicians in the 1940's and 1950's has been much discussed, but more study of that impact is warranted. While recent research has provided new information regarding this challenging topic, there is still much to learn. Indeed, a number of questions for inquiry may be posed. Among those questions are the following: Was the work of these jazz artists truly inspired? Would their creative output have been enhanced had they not been addicted to substances? What was the impact of the addictive substances on their ability to function as creative artists and is there evidence to refute or verify that impact? Are there identifiable traits in certain artists that allowed them to be creative in spite of their addictions? This examination presents an evaluation of the evidence of the link between creativity and substance abuse especially as it relates to selected jazz artists during this time period and how they remained creative and actually prospered in their careers in spite of addictions to controlled substances.
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Jazz and substance abuse
DOI.org (Crossref)