Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Pot drips... Part II

Not long after my last blog post, while I was still contemplating how to proceed with Part II, I opened up Facebook, to see that Samm Bennett (who shared my first free improv experiences in Ensemble Garuda) had written "Free Improvisation is a genre."

I think it's a telling sign that, out of nowhere, this person with whom I have shared countless hours of improvising writes a thought that neatly encapsulates the dilemma I am writing and thinking about. My first reaction was one of horror (Noooooooo!!!!) then of childish petulance (Is NOT!), then my public persona got the upper hand, and I wrote a more measured response: "Oh well, back to the drawing board. Can I be a genre too?" To which he replied "Yes, Tom! We can ALL be genres!"

But I don't want to be a genre, and I don't want free improvisation to be a genre, and despite my last post's hinting towards a Part II about the inherent limitations of free improvisation as a musical process, I believe that the limits of the process of free improvisation have barely been explored. I believe that many of the perceived limitations of "free improvisers" are as much the result of a lack of disciplined group improvising practice, and an acceptance of self imposed stylistic boundaries, as they are a limitation of the process itself.

The pot drips what is in it.

(to be continued)

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