Thursday, January 18, 2024

Listening to jazz and improvised music as comedy rather than tragedy

When I got into jazz in the 1980s, I understood improvised music as tragedy and its effect as catharsis: I wanted dark truths I had to go through pity and fear to understand; I wanted to be overwhelmed by the sublimity of live music. But now I have a different approach to listening to improvised music: I hear the musicians' interaction with each other's ideas as a matter of comedy and timing. Drummers, especially, comment with wit and laughter on their bandmates' playing, and like comedians, they find just the right moments to do so. Instead of being taken out of time by sublimity, I find myself in time with joy. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 18 January 2024) 

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