The Beginnings of Free Form
If you prefer a scientific approach and analysis of free from and improvisation, there are theories about the processes. When improvising, there is a surge in the activity of part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, according to an article by Jonah Lehrer in The Telegraph from April 15, 2012. This part of the brain controls creativity but perhaps more interestingly, when improvising, there is a decline in the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortexthe part of the brain which inhibits us, stops us from overreacting or feeling inhibited and self-conscious. So, playing free form and improvising is, perhaps, due to players having more or less active brain centers.
Some things are certain. If you seek conformity, tunes, refrains, chromatics and songs then you are possibly in the wrong shop. If you seek immediate understanding, traditional teachings and compliance, then free form has nothing to offer you. If, however, you seek to extend your musicality, to explore feelings and allow that muse which is free form jazz to lead, then follow that spirit.
Thanks to Peter Brötzmann, Terry Day, Mats Gustafsson, Alan Wilkinson, Ian Storrer and others for their support in this series, with more input to come.
Page 1 (Peter Brötzmann): Dave Kaufman
Page 2 (Mats Gustafsson): Michael Hoefner
Page 3 (Ornette Coleman): Madli-Liis Parts
Page 4 (Tony Oxley): Sue Storey
Page 5 (Peter Brötzmann): Juan-Carlos Hernandez
Page 6 (Anthony Braxton): Martin Morisette