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Thread: Free Improvisation

  1. #16
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I haven't found a shortage of interest in free jazz here. Just a shortage of people how know how it's done, technically, not in layman's terms. That includes my own knowledge which is confined to traditional jazz harmony.

    These days I listen to everything Henry Threadgill puts out... much of his music is composed nowadays... moving beyond pure improvisation without losing the spirit of the freedom... he even swings too...

    I just watched the film Looking For Ornette two nights ago. Not much of the real Ornette (that's why they're looking) but there are some superb performances by some of his disciples...

    I like that the avant garde has made room for some great guitarists. Saw Charles Lloyd this summer with both Julian Lage and Bill Frisell, plus Dave Holland, who may be my favorite bass player along with William Parker. One of last year's best shows was a duo with Holland and Kevin Eubanks, with long long sections of improv...

    Listening at the moment to the other Parker, Evan, on his disc that is included in the AEC box.
    Last edited by philoctetes; Dec-12-2018 at 20:15.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    The rule is "freedom," I would say. When Ornette Coleman did his "free" improvisation, he was basically improvising melodically, so this freed it from harmonic constraints of chord changes. This is also what characterized much 12-tone music; it was melodically-based.
    You see millionrainbows this is where I am confused I have to admit that I never came across ‘free jazz’ when I was playing, all jazz that I am familiar with improvises on melody as well as meter also harmony, admittedly chord sequences are kept unless a change is signaled or introduced by the soloist or leader, otherwise how can an ens play together if the soloist goes off on a random meander of unrelated notes etc, they could of course play as a drone effect.
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

  4. #18
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    A few to start:

    Paul Lytton - ?!
    AMM - The Inexhaustible Document
    Brotzmann/Van Hove/Bennink - s/t
    Evan Parker - Hasselt
    Paul Rutherford - The Gentle Harm of The Bourgeoisie
    London Improvisers Orchestra - Improvisations For GeorgeRiste

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  6. #19
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    I have played in a couple of free improv meet-ups, and it's good fun. I think it's about being really present, careful listening, and being very open to what's happening. I'd say the core of it is participating, I can't really imagine wanting to listen to a recording of it. In my experience I think would have appreciated it even more if there had been a more formal agreement on an outline tonal framework for the improv, as otherwise it effectively becomes purely atonal and about the sounds rather than the structure.

    There are some interesting partial improv works which explore the boundaries, e.g. Riley's In C and ten Holt's Canto Ostinato.
    Last edited by nobilmente; Dec-21-2018 at 20:47.

  7. #20
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    Wow, so many interesting contributions here to the topic. I'll listen more carefully to the music posted here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ante View Post
    Accepting your word that it is in fact music but completely improvised so, being as it has no particular genre does it have any basic rules and if so what are they?
    Sorry I took so long to answer. Free improvisation, as it is understood traditionally, is characterized as a non idiomatic music. The rules, in this case, would be to improvise collectively in such a way that idiomatic references (such as jazz or blues) are always deconstructed within the music discourse itself. As it was said before by someone, it requires an intense focus on what is being done. There're no previously stablished strucutre, or maybe there is a structure, but it only reveals itself after the performance. On the other hand, some composer have used free improvisation along with composed music, such as Cornelius Cardew and Richard Barrett.

    Where I live in, there're a growing number of improvisation groups, including two in which I play. And some of these groups are completely different in comparison to others. In that sense, I believe there're no rigid rules as to how to employ improvisation. You can write down a guided improvisation, or improvise based on a poem, or maybe set a number of scales or cells in which the improviser should base his/her music etc. There're many possibilities.
    Last edited by rbacce; Dec-21-2018 at 22:00.

  8. #21
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbacce View Post
    ..... some composer have used free improvisation along with composed music
    Steve Lacy coined the term "poly-free" in this case.

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  10. #22
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Steve Lacy coined the term "poly-free" in this case.
    I have a bunch of Lacy albums. Blinks: Zurich Live 1983 features some phenomenal playing.
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  12. #23
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    JCOA(Jazz Composers Orchestra of America) released a couple of great albums in the late sixties. Also Mike Westbrook's double album - Marching Song is pretty essential listening. Cecil Taylor can be a extremely "free" and for the uninitiated, challenging!
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  14. #24
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Classic free jazz from a group of heavyweights—a real free for all.



    Left channel
    Ornette Coleman – alto saxophone
    Don Cherry – pocket trumpet
    Scott LaFaro – bass
    Billy Higgins – drums

    Right channel
    Eric Dolphy – bass clarinet
    Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
    Charlie Haden – bass
    Ed Blackwell – drums
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Dec-22-2018 at 00:00.
    "That's all Folks!"

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  16. #25
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Free jazz (Abstract his third album) with Jamaican saxophonist Joe Harriott... Free jazz does not necessarily mean that nothing is arranged or no 'head' is played before the free improvisation. Loved this album! For me, the best free jazz never sacrificed swing... and here was passionate playing by the horns and a swinging rhythm section. The entire album can be found on YT.








    Last edited by Larkenfield; Dec-22-2018 at 00:58.
    "That's all Folks!"

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  18. #26
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ante View Post
    You see millionrainbows this is where I am confused I have to admit that I never came across ‘free jazz’ when I was playing, all jazz that I am familiar with improvises on melody as well as meter also harmony, admittedly chord sequences are kept unless a change is signaled or introduced by the soloist or leader, otherwise how can an ens play together if the soloist goes off on a random meander of unrelated notes etc, they could of course play as a drone effect.
    A lot of the solos do go off on a drone, and so much depends on the bass player. Listen to the first two Ornette Coleman albums (on Fantasy/Contemporary) Something Else!!!! and Tomorrow Is The Question to get an "easier" way in.
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  20. #27
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Intuition comes greatly into play when playing free jazz, and that magical quality manages to unite the players in exceptional ways. Rather than starting out with a goal in mind, the direction is found while playing and by reacting off each other. This requires being alert at all times.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Dec-23-2018 at 02:47.
    "That's all Folks!"

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  22. #28
    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    It's joyful as simply conversational . Let no one and nothing make demands on it .

  23. #29
    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Makes fantastical puppet show music .

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