Category Archives: Free Jazz

Revealing Ellington’s “The Clothed Woman”

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The original Columbia recording of Duke Ellington’s piano feature The Clothed Woman is from December 30th, 1947, and is available on “The Chronological Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 1947-1948.” Ellington had performed the piece a few nights earlier at Carnegie … Continue reading

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Re-posted For Ornette: Top-Down #2: Phrase Length, Strength, and the Third Dimension

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Originally posted on Professorscosco:
There’s nothing wrong with strict song form, standards, blues, etc., and I have no objection to chord progressions – some of my best friends have strong resolutions. But, jazz music’s two big building blocks, song form…

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Linear Harmony #4 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading Pt. 2

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…the effect is fluid and free, almost like a composition is improvising with itself. I like this technique and I use it often. Thinking about strong lines and counterpoint first, and chords and harmonic movement second can make it all … Continue reading

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Top-Down #2: Phrase Length, Strength, and the Third Dimension

There’s nothing wrong with strict song form, standards, blues, etc., and I have no objection to chord progressions – some of my best friends have strong resolutions. But, jazz music’s two big building blocks, song form (4-8-12-16 bar structure) and … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #2–Cells and Solos

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Writing “free” notation in jazz for pitched instruments is a challenge. While rhythm section players are used to making up their parts (reading chord changes, following ensemble figures with rhythmic notation), there might be some head-scratching at the session in … Continue reading

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Living in the Big City

Last week I stumbled upon a wonderful blog. On a seemingly daily basis composer and critic George Grella engages his talent, intellect and great ears and writes about a wide range of music topics from Classical to the Avant-Garde. I … Continue reading

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Scoring and Controlling Improvisation #1–Rhythmic Cells

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I’ve written a lot of ensemble music where my intention was to create an improvised texture, or a feel of rhythmic and melodic freedom—fully notated music that sounds non-metered and non-harmonic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t. In many instances … Continue reading

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Amplified String Quartet? Really?

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I just mixed the piece I wrote for last April’s concert–“Effection” for amplified string quartet and three percussion. It’s an attempt at “Third Stream” music, combing some jazz elements in a modern classical setting. The musicians were cracker jack players, … Continue reading

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Last Night–One Attempt

So I tried it out again. I performed The Clothed Woman live with my trio last night. I played it last winter, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that performance. Last night it was better. Now I think I can end … Continue reading

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Posted in Duke Ellington, Free Jazz, Harmony, Jazz Composition and Analysis, Jazz history, Jazz piano, Solo piano, Theory and Harmony | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Serious” Improvisation-Surfing the Third Stream

I’m writing a piece for string quartet and 3 percussionists. In this piece I want to have the players improvise in certain passages. This creates many challenges, not the least of which is how to notate improvisation. I’ve done this … Continue reading

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