My blog from last week inspired one of my regular off-site commentators to a criticism that raises an important issue about American music. The springboard for the comment was my admission that a group I am in had agreed to explore a new strategy in our improvisation with the end of “presenting something palatable to a broader audience than just ourselves.”
We’ve been playing as a group for about a year and at first we created very long pieces that morphed from one idea to the next, but a decision was made early on to work on shorter pieces that focus on a single idea with the goal of presenting something palatable to a broader audience than just ourselves. This agenda allows us to play well-known pieces as well as free improvisations without putting off the jazz “purists”.
The remainder of the International Society of Bassists convention was both stunning and anticlimactic. I listened to bassist Gene Perla play a fabulous set of music with locals pianist Sean Gough and drummer John Arkin and joined by vocalist Viktorija Gecyte. Wayne Darling followed by displaying his flowing over-the-bar approach to jazz improvisation with pianist Bill Mays.
A commenter posting to a TED clip wrote that jazz skills are about building a mental catalog of phrases and patterns that you can then use and modify; this is so wrong.
I got a call from the owner of my favorite improvised music venue in Brooklyn, Puppets Jazz Bar, who informed me that, due to financial problems, the club was going to fold that night and would I like to attend the last rites.
Decisions are often made in the witch’s cauldron of the recording studio about what takes, or parts of takes, to include in a final product; more often than one might imagine (or admit) the result is an entirely new work, almost unrecognizable from the original versions that were butchered to construct it