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Sonny Rollins and David S. Ware: Sonny Meets David

By Published: October 21, 2005

DSW: You know my direction on that is that basically, that improvisation is a very very sacred phenomenon ; And actually the Creator is the master improviser of the Cosmos. The creator is an improviser, so all creativity is actually a mirror of the Creator. And so that's why it is such a sacred thing. Because the creator has improvised this drama that we find ourselves in and that's the connection. The connection is with the master of the life, the whole entire life and everybody and everything that exists.

SR: Right, when you look at nature, nature is improvising. I am sitting here right now and I have the empty TV screen in front of me and that's got the reflection of the window outside and I can see the sky and the colours of the sky. Now every minute it's changing to something different since we started this talk. God is always improvising. This is happening constantly. That's what we are doing while we are improvising, we are trying to do, try to glorify our Creator and of course it is a very sacred thing and not just jump around, it is something serious.

DSW: As I was telling to the group. It's not just a note, it's not just a piece of music, it's more than that. You got to make that inner connection in each and every note, to project that into the music. You know through the instrument, project that connection, that deep connection into the music. And that's what make music great.

FM: The force, the beauty, the utopia of this music is to be yourself in being together.

SR: It's a thing about ensemble playing I think, if people have thought about improvisation, they might say, well you are improvising, you are standing up and you...

DSW: What I caught from the question is just the dynamics of playing with others, what that involves and what are the possibilities of that, what it contains. Where can that take you. Just the dynamic. What needs to be done to make music dynamic, what makes a good band, you know, what do you feel makes a good band...

SR: As far as I am concerned a good band starts with yourself. It's starts with me getting my stuff together and then trying to project what I want to out of the people. Now in an ensemble where there is also a lot of... the great swing bands used to improvise, like Count Basie's band, they used to improvise with, the guys in the section that play together they could catch what the first alto is doing and so they would be sort of... in a way they would be improvising as an ensemble. So it is possible to improvise with an ensemble and it's also, the possibilities of an ensemble would be a little different than a small group, but it can also be very rewarding. There are different ways to praise the creator, that also can be invigorating.

DSW: What I've been doing these past weeks, I am rehearsing my music with string players. I am just conducting, I am not playing. What I told them yesterday, it's about intuitive, there is an intuitive factor to this, when you play with others. You should try to develop that, sometimes I conduct, sometimes I don't so it's up to them to decide where to enter, which dynamics for example to play behind a soloist. The soloist has to decide how long he or she is going to play and then they are all coming on the next line. But there is an intuitive factor. I think that it's missing a lot in a lot of music man, because it's too formulated.

SR: Specially in ensemble music...

DSW: It's too much formula about it. Even in so called jazz, it is too much formulas. It's not enough intuition. I told them the first day, the music is not on the paper. The music is within you. Now if you come together with a bunch of people, you have to, in playing, dealing with my music, you're gone have to be intuitive in order to keep that freshness about it.

For example, suppose that ensemble went on the road where you are playing a bunch of pieces every night, some night you're gone want to play them like this, another night you're gone want to play like that. You got to be in tune, you got to listen, you got to intuit one another. A lot of this comes through time. One part of it just comes from cats staying together, and that's one of the main reasons I only play with my band at this point for the past fifteen years, because that's what works for me and that's how I feel that music can develop more like that when cats get to know one another and stay together and get close spiritually and instinctively. Intuitively when the cats are playing you know what they are going to play before they play just about...

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