Saturday 22 March 2008

On The Edge of Now


By way of a teaser, the opening scenes from "Passing It On", Derek Bailey's 'Improvisation' entries in the BBC's On The Edge - - dmtls tips us to the full episodes one and three which we can watch over at at UBU Web.

And they are quite a trip. From school children spontaneously engaged (without instruction) in a real participation to Zorn's social-noise to Eugene Chadbourne being, well, Eugene, to a master class in Indian vocal music and elementary bebop drums, to the performance strategies of one of the greatest improvisational ensemble composers of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

As Derek Bailey explains, and as Mozart scholars Christopher Hogwood and Robert Levin explain, as the Hebridean gaelic psalm singers and Indian Raga singers explain, the fragile and precious moment of the music of any 'now' is impossible to capture, package and sell. Sure, we can learn from recordings, we can learn technique and the method and gesture, but when it comes right down to it, the essential essence of the the music escapes. It is too immediate, too entangled in the present place and context, too intimately personal to the performers and to the audience.

Amazon: based on the book Improvisation by Derek Bailey