Conor Apperson - February 3, 2013
“The most common form of improvisation is ordinary speech. As we talk and listen, we are drawing on a set of building blocks (vocabulary) and rules for combining them (grammar). These have been given to us by our culture. But the sentences we make with them may never have been said before and may never be said again. Every conversation is a form of jazz. The activity of instantaneous creation is as ordinary to us as breathing.” Free Play- Improvisation in Life and Art. Stephen Nachmanovitich.
After the study, discussion of, performance of and teaching or sharing of music over the years, I have understood music most through this definition, that what we call language. In light hearted play over the last 3 years, ‘we’ (us loving improvisers) have engaged in discussions; some more involved and some perhaps more simple and less involved, but none without a past and a present. What we will play and thusly what we do play, most often then, is us speaking on our past experience or in this definition on our own culture. That which we have experienced and discerned in our past then comes through in our present, in essence defining the moment of our musical conception or performance.
So, in understanding this concept, I wish in my performance to firstly demonstrate some of my culture, most apparent being the different styles of music that I listen to and engage with. I hope that through my communication, you will see some of these cultural references.
I wish to most accurately communicate as an improviser/musician/cultural ambassador what is a moment of inspiration and history colliding, representing the music’s I have been immersed in.
Here are 5 albums I have been listening to:
David Bowie “Low”
Oliver Mtukudzi “Tuku Music”
Dr. Lonnie Smith “The Healer”
Aaron Parks “Dear Someone”
Tony Williams “Spring”
So how is it that I will then be able to accurately represent my own culture within improvisation, you might be asking.
It is my hope to be able to clearly represent the language of my culture and past, by bringing up some incredible musicians who I will ask to interpret a melodic phrase that I will sing. It is my goal for this phrase to be a moment of clear-headed inspired improvisation. Hopefully then uncontrived and free of those nagging melodies that ruminate incessantly in our minds, the ones we so often sing and hear like the latest MC Hammer or New Kids On the Block tune. Oh wait, that was last decade… I hope you enjoy!