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A jovial showman on his drum set, Gunter "Baby" Sommer opened Friday night's finale with brash athleticism. Throughout the set he showcased a medley of non-traditional mallets, such as hot pink plastic tubes. Masters Schoof and German saxophonist Gerd Dudek formed a contemplative brass section who displayed their share of thoughtful solos, but appeared placid compared with the extroverted drummer and Edwards once again. As Schoof and Dudek stepped aside to observe, Sommer rolled out a rabid beat and held it with perfect control while staring at Edwards as if questioning "can you keep up." The bassist replied by throwing his mightiest force into his instrument, but unwilling to let the junior player take the spotlight, Sommer whipped out a pair of cymbals and started banging and singing away before quickly tossing them aside in favor of a pair of hand brooms. It was free improvisation at its wildest, performed by a pair of exceptionally creative musicians, a generation apart.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.