Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Solo Gig VIII Working Jung's Riff


Something mildly interesting has just happened here, while I'm writing on this manuscript. I was reading over that paragraph with Duke Ellington's quote about
"if it sounds good it is good"
and have suddenly noticed that the Ellington Orchestra is playing "Take the A Train" on the television in the back room.

Whether the notice it or not, this kind of thing happens to us all the time, of course. Synchronicities, minor and major, completely unexpected, uncanny convergences from somewhere deep outside our conscious intent.

Something like this also can happen during group playing. A quintet, say, way out in the middle of some tornadic dissonance, and suddenly everybody has hit a sustained major chord at exactly the same moment, as if on cue. "Ha ha!" we all say, "Where'd that C sharp major come from?"

Good Question. Occurring as they do from beyond our international awareness, these kind of events are always already in progress when we become aware of them. We were already hitting that C sharp together before we recognized it.

Not to make too much of walk-on major chord cameos, of course; that's just a glaring example. The point is that free playing can involve a wide variety of inexplicably ?accurate? cohesions, facilitating massively improbable ("coincidental") juxtapositions.

In practice: not all that uncommon, actually. Yet I've no idea how that kind of thing happens. This could be one of those aforementioned curiosities of music improvisation.

All illustrations from Joseph Cornell
Dave Williams


Based in a noted musician's decades of personal experiences, his book Solo Gig: Essential Curiosities in Musical Free Improvisation (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011) examines some crucial and far-reaching aspects of musical free improvisation, with particular regard to live performances. In this illustrated collection of narrative essays, the author looks both into and from inside this uniquely paradoxical, challenging and rewarding way of making music, within the context of an inherently eccentric milieu. 
Available here. (U.S.A.) (Europe)