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Dr Nicolas Pillai

I am an Associate Fellow in the Film & Television Studies Department at the University of Warwick and a Research Fellow in the School of Media at Birmingham City University.

For questions regarding my research, please use

Forthcoming work

Book chapter: Wall, Tim and Pillai, Nicolas, 'Screening popular music's past: music documentary and biopics' in Lauren Istvandity, Sarah Baker and Catherine Strong, eds. (2018), The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage.

Book chapter: 'Jazz and comics', in Gebhardt, Nicholas, Nicole Rustin-Paschall and Tony Whyton, eds. (2017) The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies.

Article: 'Dashiell Hammett' in Krin Gabbard, ed. (2016), Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies, Oxford University Press.

Book chapter: 'Brubeck betwixt and between: television, pop and the middlebrow' in Roger Fagge and Nicolas Pillai, eds. (2017) New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice. Routledge.

Editor: Fagge, Roger and Nicolas Pillai, eds. (2017) New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice. Routledge.

Published work

Monograph: Pillai, N. (2016) Jazz as Visual Language: Film, Television and the Dissonant Image. I. B. Tauris.

DVD booklet: 'That Autumn in Paris' (2016), Paris Blues Blu-ray and DVD. British Film Institute.

Journal article: Pillai, N. & Priego, E., (2016). Brilliant Corners: Approaches to Jazz and Comics. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship. 6, p.12. DOI:

Book chapter: 'Watching men play: the erotics of the Hollywood jazz film' in Wolfram Knauer, ed. (2016), Gender and Identity in Jazz. Jazzinstitut Darmstädt, pp. 292-301.

Journal article: 'Among My Souvenirs: couples, conventions and the America to come in The Best Years Of Our Lives', Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism 6 (2015), pp. 53-62.

Book chapter: 'Asta: the screwball dog and the Hollywood crime film' in Sebastian Manley and Kirsten Irving, eds.(2015), Lives Beyond Us: Poems and Essays on the Film Reality of Animals. Sidekick Books, pp. 187-196.

Journal article: 'Filming improvisation: jazz criticism's neglect of film style', The Soundtrack 6: 1 (2014), pp. 5-20.

Podcast: Jazz 625 at the BBC (in conversation with Professor Tim Wall and Dr Richard Wallace), 22 May 2014.

Journal article: 'What am I looking at, Mulder?: licensed comics and the freedoms of transmedia storytelling', Science Fiction Film and Television 6: 1 (2013), pp. 101-117.

Entries: 'Tom Ripley improvises' and 'X marks the spot' in Michael Pigott, ed. (2013), World Film Locations: Venice. Intellect, pp. 76-77, 94-95.

Book chapter: 'This World is Full of Danger: the hard-boiled Nick Cave' in Sam Kinchin-Smith, ed. (2012), Read Write [Hand]: a Multi-Disciplinary Nick Cave Reader. Silkworms Ink, pp. 75-79.


Sidney Bechet - French Movies, London Jazz News, 15 May 2015

Stacey Kent at the Royal Spa Centre, London Jazz News, 9 April 2015

'Zero Effect (1998)', Underclass (issue 1), March 2015

Whiplash is a horror film - so jazz critics should stop worrying, The Conversation, 21 January 2015

GoGo Penguin: v2.0, London Jazz News, 16 April 2014

John Coltrane: Out of This World, London Jazz News, 23 March 2014

Oscar Peterson and Ben Webster: During This Time, London Jazz News, 1 March 2014

Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film Live, London Jazz News, 14 February 2014

Chet Baker: Italian Movies, London Jazz News, 27 January 2014

Jazz on Film: French New Wave, London Jazz News, 8 October 2013

Jazz on Film: Beat, Square & Cool, London Jazz News, 18 November 2012

'The authentic jazz film' in The Jazz Rag 122 (July 2012), pp. 10-11

Papers 2012-2016

Conference paper: Miles as Actor: the jazz musician and expressive performance, Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 90: retrospect and prospect, University of Surrey, 21–23 October 2016

Invited speaker: Before Whiplash: Understanding the Jazz Film, International Jazz Day Leamington, April 2016

Invited speaker: The Jazz Film as Provocation, Radio Jazz Research Jazz and Film conference Kiel, 31 March–1 April 2016 [LondonJazz report]

Invited speaker: Jazz Films Don't Exist, London Jazz Festival, 18 November 2015 [transcript]

Chair: Desert Island Films, Leamington Underground Cinema, 7 November 2015

Chair: Unlock Sherlock, Leamington Underground Cinema, 7 November 2015

Invited speaker: Watching men play: the erotics of the Hollywood jazz film, Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, 1-3 October 2015 [video]

Invited speaker: Play It Again, Dexter: memory and the film soundtrack, Wonderfeel festival, 's-Graveland, 24-26 July 2015

Conference paper: It's Only a Record, Charlie Brown: Vince Guaraldi, Wynton Marsalis and nostalgia as commodity, University of Warwick, 6-7 July 2015

Invited speaker: Researching Jazz 625, Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, 19 January 2015

Invited speaker: Len Lye's A Colour Box: jazz, paint and cinematic waste, BCMCR research seminar, Birmingham City University, 12 November 2014

Conference paper: Len Lye's A Colour Box: jazz, paint and cinematic waste, Third Rhythm Changes Conference 'Jazz Beyond Borders', Conservatorium van Amsterdam, 4-7 September 2014

Organiser: New Jazz Conceptions: History, Theory, Practice, University of Warwick, 22 May 2014

Invited speaker: Jazz 625 and television aesthetics, Birmingham Jazz Research Group, 27 March 2014

Keynote address: Filming improvisation: stylistic challenges for jazz and cinema, Jazz and Cinema conference, Cardiff University, 1-2 November 2013

Invited speaker: Jazz, film and the dissonant image, British Music Experience, 19 October 2013

Invited speaker: Jazz and the television archive, National Jazz Archive, 6 April 2013

Invited speaker: The Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes, Warwick Arts Centre, 26 January 2013

Invited speaker: A Study in Sherlock, Warwick Words literary festival, 8 December 2012

Invited speaker: Jazz and British cinema, National Jazz Archive, 8 September 2012

Conference paper: Coltrane and his contexts: documentary and fiction, University of Birmingham, 7 September 2012

Conference paper: Living through music: All Night Long and the mise-en-scene of jazz biography, University of Warwick, 25 May 2012

Conference paper: Are monsters real? Men from the ministry and men in rubber suits, International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts (Orlando, Florida), 24 March 2012

Invited speaker: Looking at jazz: music, (inter)nationality and race, Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida), 20 March 2012


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