[Dixielandjazz] Classical & other Improvisation
csuhor at zebra.net
Tue Jan 25 13:57:57 PST 2005
Shankar's work in the Indian raga tradition is, to me, great
improvisation, and I loved his tabla players. It goes without saying
that African drumming, with ancient roots, is another stunning improv
tradition, the one most closely linked with jazz. When modern
musicologists first studied it around the thirties, they kept looking
for "1" and had no idea of how the complex parts fit together and how
the master drummer could switch time signatures, in Western terms, by"
reading" the background beats differently.
Interesting that it was the irregularly accented lines of the ragtime
composers and later, the jazz wind instrument players rather than the
early jazz drummers, that carried some of the intricacies of African
drumming into jazz. I think that the early drummers like Baby Dodds,
Zutty Singleton, and Ray Bauduc, great as they were, carried forth a
different quality African drumming--the conception of drums as an
ensemble of sounds--the marching band drum section, and then some. Even
today, so many good jazz drummers are sonic in their approach to the
kit, with a sense of varied, layered, and counterpointed sound rather
than just a linear, time-keeping approach. I think that early jazz and
modern drummers were most powerful in that respect, whereas in the
swing era 4/4 was favored so much that lesser drummers lost the sense
of the role of drummer as colorist.
On Jan 25, 2005, at 3:11 PM, Steve barbone wrote:
> Great thoughts, Charlie & Ric.
> I just want to add that extensive use of improv was not limited to
> Classical Music. It also existed and still exists today in Persian
> music as well as Indian Music. John Coltrane and others were very
> in studying with Ravi Shankar for both scale knowledge and the manner
> which Shankar improvised.
> Jazz improv? Came on the scene quite late in the history of music.
> Funny though, jazz seems to be progressing along the historical line of
> Classical. First lots of improv, then less, and now on the cutting
> edge, at
> those little nook and cranny jazz clubs in NYC, you find 100% reliance
> written jazz and no room to improvise at all.
> One does need to be a MASTER of the axe and sight read like a demon to
> anywhere near it.
> Steve Barbone
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