Free jazz versus free improvisation. Are they the same? I submit they are not. Let's take a look at what makes up music. I was taught from the very beginning that music is composed of three parts: 1. Melody; 2. Harmony; 3. Rhythm. Now add improvisation to the mix, and call it melody, and we have what is known as jazz. The main components of jazz are the improvisations and the rhythms. Without improvised solos it can't be called jazz. From the earliest days of blues to ragtime to swing to bebop to modern ...read more
For me music is full of magic, mystery, spirituality, joy, passion and fire, blue to red, yet my journey to conceptualize finds me chasing the most objective truths I can discover, truths stripped of every aesthetic element possible. In High School during an intro to theory class my teacher announced: music is sound in time. We tapped metal chairs with pencils, scratched blackboards until they screamed, and poked and prodded classmates hoping for squeals of surprise, trying to discover music at its most elemental. A later examination of this definition uncovered time" as redundant, in order to experience sound it ...read more
Simple (Skirl 2014) , New York based composer/saxophonist Anna Webber's follow up to her 2013 release Percussive Mechanics (Pirouet 2013) finds her exploring the expressive capabilities of a trio setting. While the compositional sensibilities introduced in her first album remain, her affinity for polyrhythms being a good example, the new texture provides her the ability to play with more freedom and subtle intricacy alongside her tight arrangements. Of course, her phenomenal bandmates contribute a lot in this respect. Joining Webber on this outing are pianist Matt Mitchell, known as an in-demand sideman who has played with such luminaries ...read more
For his first recording as a leader, drummer/percussionist Steve Olson asked six of his friends to engage in completely unrehearsed and improvised duo conversations." Olson states in the notes that in his opinion, the best music has an element of dialogue in it, both between the musicians, and between the players and the listener who is hearing and reacting emotionally." The result of these encounters are fifteen tracks which strongly support his stance from both viewpoints, although much concentration is required of the listener. The aural textures created are, not surprisingly, sparse, but within a large ...read more
This album is a release of archived material, recorded live in Luxembourg in 1987. Peter Brotzmann has been delving into his archives a lot lately and this release is one of the gems he found. Now on the Venetian label TROST, this collaboration between Brotzmann and guitarist Sonny Sharrock is widely available. Sharrock died in 1994 and jazz lost one ot its great musicians--he had played with Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders and others during the 1960s before fading from the scene, but returned to the spotlight as part of the free-rock-jazz-noise quartet Last Exit with bassist Bill Laswell, drummer Ronald ...read more
Drummer Abbey Rader's four decades long career has been one of intrepid innovation and creative ingenuity. His unique approach to his instrument brims with unconventional virtuosity and a deep spiritual sense. His The Message on his own Abray label, is a three part, entirely improvised suite recorded live in Miami in January of 2014. Sort of a musical allegory about the various phases of life the harmonically multi-textured performance has an undercurrent of wise serenity even during its wildest most energetic moments. For instance on Arrival," as the two saxophones soar over Rader's dark rumble, altoist Noah Brandmark's ...read more
To say that someone is a virtuoso on their instrument isn't a statement just about playing ability. Virtuosity implies a deep level of understanding and insight into the way an instrument works, its history, and its sonic capabilities. This knowledge extends to an understanding of the physics of sound production: the minute details of how the sound is generated, how it is altered tonally, timbrally, and otherwise, where the overtones lie and how they can be manipulated, how environmental factors figure into one's sound. Though technical ability comes from within, the total command of one's voice is shaped by the ...read more
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