Saxophonist and ethnomusicologist Mark Laver is an Assistant Professor of Music at Grinnell College, where he directs the jazz band and teaches classes on jazz and popular music. As a performer, Professor Laver has shared the stage with such leading jazz and improvising artists as Lee Konitz, William Parker, Dong-Won Kim, Seamus Blake, NEXUS, Kurt Elling, Eddie Prévost, Hugh Fraser, and Phil Nimmons. He has also been a featured soloist with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble. He was profiled in the “Canadian Rising Stars” issue of The Music Scene/La Scena Musicale in 2005.
Professor Laver’s research focuses on the intersections among jazz, improvisation, and neoliberal capitalism. In addition to Jazz Sells, other recent publications include his critique of the Jazz at Lincoln Center – Starwood Hotels sponsorship arrangement that resulted in J@LC Doha, “Freedom of Choice: Jazz, Neoliberalism, and the Lincoln Center” (Popular Music and Society 38), and “Improvise!TM: Improvisation and the Aesthetics of Neoliberalism” (Critical Studies in Improvisation 9), an interrogation of improvisation-based business management consultancy. This second article was part of a special issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation on “Ethics and the Improvising Business,” of which Laver served as co-editor. He is currently working on a new edited volume with Dr. Ajay Heble (University of Guelph) called Improvisation and Music Education: Beyond the Classroom, forthcoming with Routledge.
In addition to his position at Grinnell College, Professor Laver is a Research Associate with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. He completed his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto in 2011.