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--- Sep 09 1999 Go to category
Subject: Early jazz
Category: General Questions
From: Lee Hutchison (Charlotte, NC)

Have you ever seen "Anatomy Of A Murder" with Jimmy Stuwart? It has a really cool Duke Ellington soundtrack. What is it that makes the early Jazz sound so expressive of disorder and tension, and yet so fantastically balanced and harmonized? What specific elements of early jazz lie at the core of your own music, and do you think jazz is more closely informed by the cultural milieu than is other musical genres? How much of your work is purely improvisational? Is any of it?

Pat’s Answer:

"anatomy of a murder" is actually one of my favorite filmscores ever - and of course like all musicians, duke is one of my very favorites.

i don't really separate "early jazz" from any other kind of music. i really try to appreciate it outside of the context of it's time - its "cultural milieu" as you put it. i really just dig the notes that someone somewhere might put together to tell a story that is important to them.

then, you wrote "How much of your work is purely improvisational? Is any of it?"

this question puzzles me. i can only assume that you have not really heard much of our music. occasionally, someone comes up to me asking something like that after a concert ("was any of that improvised?") - and then, like now, i just don't even know what to say - it is so obvious to me (and i would guess to the vast majority of people that have spent time listening to improvisational music) when things are being improvised and when they aren't. either we are EXTREMELY effective as improvisors to the point where it is invisible to all but the most astute listeners - or, and i submit this respectfully to you in this case, there needs to be more serious listening to the music in question.