Thread: Free Jazz
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Old 09.21.2010, 03:41 AM   #40
ann ashtray
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Originally Posted by fugazifan
i dont know if i agree with you. while i am a strong supporter of free music, i am not sure if it is because of its "purity". and definitely not because it is the "purest". one could even argue that a random arrangement of sounds is not "pure" or in other terms "natural" and that certain fixed arrangements of sounds are purer for they form naturally, like overtones, or pentatonic scales which are the most universal scales.
another reason why i dont agree with you is because a lot of "free" music is not completely free in form. many free improvisers have had extensive musical training and i am sure incorporate a variety of well known musical idioms into their playing.
maybe the emotion of the players is purer, which i also dont agree with, but even if that were the case, the listening experience is not necessarily a pure one. i can get an equal cathartic experience by listening to either brotzmann or mozart. both of them are very different and i definitely could not say which more pure. but then again mozart was apparently a hell of an improviser and never wrote drafts to his music, he wrote them all in his head and then in one go wrote them down, so maybe, to some extent, his music was also free?

sorry about the rant.

Don't be...rant was nice! And for the most part I agree with ya.

I used to think that the ultimate sense of freedom as a musician came with not learning any formal methods of approaching my instrument. And while I came up with some cool ideas on my own, after a couple years I felt anything but free esp. when it came to jamming with other people or along with my favorite records. As a result, I started studying a bit. I looked at what Hendrix would do, and while I was never, and never will be able to play even remotely like that I came to the conclusion that he was perhaps one of the freest guitar players, ever. Of course he was taking full advantage of that pentatonic scale, but he was also going completely wild with it and making up his own weird chords and noodling with amp feedback/etc...which were anything but conventional at that time (matter of fact, most bands tried desperately to allow as little feedback as it's a staple in what a lot of bands do). And to get to my point, learning more conventional ways of playing guitar, learning chords and practicing scales DOES NOT mean that one is steering away from freedom, in my mind it means one is embracing it. What this does is allow more colors, more tools, to be added to one's pallet of things they CAN do...thus, allowing room for experimenting down new avenues they may not have previously realized even existed.

I think most that have studied the playing of Lee might agree that he's the most creative force behind the band. Of course, he doesn't write the majority of the songs...but he makes them far more interesting. His noisier albums tend to murder T-Birds, and we're talking about someone that grew up playing more hippy/folky stuff.

At this stage of my life I am weary of guitarists that are still saying they want to do everything in their power to stay away from conventional methods of playing. No one is asking to STICK with convention, but when one makes such a claim I hear it as if they are allowing themselves to NOT be free as a musician, which is the polar opposite of what they are claiming to want to do.

Hendrix was playing along with Albert King + Muddy Waters records before he ever stepped foot on a wah-wah pedal or played around with amp feedback. Thankfully, he embraced both....just look at what he did with all along the watchtower..even Dylan said Jimi's version was the definitive version of the song.
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