keeping it short
I need to keep my blogging time short today. I got up all charged up to some work (see below).
I was shocked to read the rules for the upcoming AGO improvisation context in the magazine (link to pdf of the page in the mag)
“The structure of this competition recognizes that improvisation is not simply art of the present. Rather, many of the best improvisations result from intentional cultivation of an individual’s musical imagination and are achieved when working with themes well known and purposefully selected. Throughout this competition, competitors are encouraged to explore different historical styles of improvisation, but are not required to perform in specific historical styles. Instead, the environment, the instrument, and the competitor’s own musical voice will each inform a performance. “(emphasis added)
Wow. I never thought I would read that in an AGO mag. I was not awarded an AAGO rating in the 80s when although I managed passing scores in the test but flubbed a small modulation thus flunking by the rule that one could not have a low score in any one of the many sections they tested. I know that the modulation I improvised was probably not textbook, however I’m pretty sure it made some kind of musical sense. After that i turned all of my improvisatory thinking away from standard AGO improvisation thinking which was basically improvising in the context of 18th and 19th century harmonic language as far as i could tell.
Now it looks like my way of improvising is making a bit of an inroad into the stodgy organization I have remained a member of for decades.
I was reminded of this last night at the concert Eileen and I attended thanks to the generosity of my cellist who holds season tickets but couldn’t make last night concert. We heard a group called the Dave Douglas Quintet. The improvising was stunning by any measure especially the rhythm section. When I have heard some working musicians who seem to be functioning under the umbrella of the context jazz improvise I am riveted by the coherence and beauty of what they sometimes do. i also wonder about the “genre.”
I suspect that the music i heard last night will be viewed historically as evolved away from the jazz of the last century as my own little improvs moved away from AGO standards. Obviously working in the line of jazz improv the practice has evolved into an exciting and beautiful art of a high level. I would love to know what Miles Davis would make of it or for that matter how Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock think about what they do.
arranging music for a week from Sunday
So I spent some time looking at organ music based on the hymns we will sing on the last Sunday before Lent. I found one piece that I think I can easily transcribe for piano trio. I also found another piece by the composer of the anthem for the day. Technically I am supposed to contact these composers to ask if i can arrange their work. I’m not planning to do that so I’m not mentioning who they are here except to say that I have had communication with both of them online and it’s not always been pleasant. heh.