October 13, 2007, 2:30 PM
Creativity in Jazz Improvisation
Music Performance & Discussion
Participants: Jane Ira Bloom & Lewis Porter
Jazz is not the only art form to contain improvisation—far from it—but in jazz the discipline of improvisation is developed to a very high level. Far from a casual, occasional exercise, improvisation in jazz is something that beginning players struggle to master, and that professionals spend their lives honing, refining, and changing. To this day, musicians study the recorded improvisations of such masters as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Herbie Hancock in order to gain insights and inspiration.
Dr. Lewis Porter will explore jazz improvisation with saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom. The presentation will consist of performances of short improvised pieces, followed by a discussion. For each piece, Porter and Bloom will first explain the basis of the improvisation—there is always some starting point, often written out on music paper or memorized. After performing the piece and discussing how it went, Porter and Bloom will take questions from the audience. They will then perform the piece a second time, and again discuss it and take questions. Four or five pieces will be performed, in this unique 90 minute presentation.
Jane Ira Bloom is a soprano saxophonist, composer, and a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz. She is the winner of the 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition, the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award for lifetime service to jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association Award and the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano saxophone, and the Charlie Parker Fellowship for jazz innovation. Bloom was the first musician commissioned by the NASA Art Program and has an asteroid named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union. She has received numerous commissions composing for the American Composers Orchestra, the St Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and Pilobolus Dance Theater, integrating jazz performers in new settings. She has recorded and produced 13 albums of her music and holds degrees from Yale University and the Yale School of Music. Bloom is currently on the faculty of the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in NYC.
Dr. Lewis Porter is a jazz pianist, author and educator. He is Professor of Music at Rutgers University in Newark, where he is the founding Director of the Master's Program in Jazz History and Research. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including the acclaimed study John Coltrane: His Life and Music. He has written numerous articles and liner notes, and edits a book series and a scholarly journal. He has performed recently with such artists as Wycliffe Gordon, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Morris, and is currently rehearsing Indian-influenced music as part of a new group with Badal Roy, Vic Juris and a veena player from South India. His new CD, recorded live at Siena Jazz, is Italian Encounter (at Altrisuoni.com and iTunes). His full schedule and extended audio clips are available at lewisporter.com.
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