Gordon Minhinnick, ‘In the Groove,’ New Zealand Herald, 4 September 1952, p. 10 (© New Zealand Herald).
Gordon Minhinnick, ‘In the Groove,’ New Zealand Herald, 4 September 1952, p. 10 (© New Zealand Herald).

As some of you may know I have co-edited with Dr Nicolas Pillai (Birmingham City University) a special collection of peer-reviewed research articles for The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship.

Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics aims to find meeting points between the disciplines of jazz studies and comics studies.

Over the last forty years, the fields of jazz studies and comic studies have gained currency within the academy and have been enriched by interdisciplinary approaches. The New Jazz Studies has invigorated the discipline beyond its musicological roots, while Comics Studies has thrived in the digital age.

The call for papers for this special collection was published on 30 July 2015 and the deadline for submissions was 15 January 2016. The articles in this collection have been published in the order in which they were ready for publication (i.e. not as a ‘bulk’ or single issue).

Yesterday we published a new addition to the collection:


New Zealand Jazz Concerts, the Use and Abuse of Grand Pianos, and One Cartoonist’s Response, by jazz historian Aleisha Ward.


Political, social, and cultural controversies are the main fodder of staff cartoonists at newspapers. From the serious to the silly, newspaper cartoonists are expected to comment on whatever happens to be in the news cycle on any day. This commentary creates both ephemera and historical evidence of events and their effects on society. This article investigates an incident at a jazz concert in Auckland in 1952 at which the musicians were charged with abusing the new Steinway grand piano and the following controversy about the jazz musicians’ use of town hall facilities. From this incident New Zealand Herald cartoonist Gordon Minhinnick responded with a cartoon and a comic strip about the debate. By examining Minhinnick’s contributions via the lens of cultural history we can apprehend the shape of this dispute (politically and culturally), how it impacted Auckland society, and also gain a sense about how jazz was perceived by society at large at that time. We can also see how Minhinnick used the debate to illustrate other important political issues facing Auckland at the time.

Keywords: history,  jazz,  jazz concert,  New Zealand,  politics 

How to Cite: Ward, A., (2016). New Zealand Jazz Concerts, the Use and Abuse of Grand Pianos, and One Cartoonist’s Response. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship. 6, p.10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.75

Published: 23 August 2016.

Copyright: © 2016 Aleisha Ward. This is a peer reviewed open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Third-party content is included in the article for research and educational purposes only under Academic Fair Dealing/Fair Use. Unless otherwise stated all third-party content is copyright its original owners; all images of and references to characters and comic art presented on the article or the site(s) are ©, ® or ™ their respective owners.

Even though this particular collection is now closed to new submissions, The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship receives submissions on an ongoing basis. More information at http://www.comicsgrid.com/about/submissions/.

The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship is a peer-reviewed open access journal published by the Open Library of Humanities [OLH]. Unlike many open-access publishers, the OLH does not charge any author fees. This does not mean that we do not have costs. Instead, our costs are paid by an international library consortium.

If your institution is not currently supporting the platform, we request that you ask your librarian to sign up. The OLH is extremely cost effective and is a not-for-profit charity. However, while we cannot function without financial support and we encourage universities to sign up, institutional commitment is not required to publish with us.

This update reshares information originally published on this post at The Comics Grid‘s blog.