Four musicians appear on the recorded version of It Ain't My Responsibility, drummer Will Buchanan, bassist Colin Brown, tenor saxophonist Seann Ives and myself on alto saxophone. These musicians have been my musical peers and influences at WPI for some time now, as we rehearse and perform together anywhere from three to four times a week. What I found most intriguing about the performance were the new avenues that this compositional vehicle opened up for the group.
Jazz musicians in the 1990's, under the blanket of both criticism and praise, have sought a return to the bebop, cool and hard bop styles of the 1950's. In many ways, our group is very much like a 1950's group - we play material from each of the major styles in jazz music. Although this material does include avant-garde concepts, and we have played ``freely'' in the past, we haven't recently, and have stayed within those three major styles.
The recorded performance managed to break a good deal of the stylistic `habits' each player had, and caused him to have to create with very little `in the pot', drawing from the other musicians, instead of from the page of music. The truly outstanding musical environment generated as a product of the composition allowed everyone's creativity to flow, and for the first time in a long time, I can confidently say that everybody played differently than they usually do.
I have listened to the recording many times over the past few days, and have been able to identify in the improvisations many of the techniques that musicians of the ``free'' period utilized: side slipping, motivic development, bass pedaling, honks and squeals and varying pitch placement, to name a few. The influence of Ornette Coleman's groups is evident in the performance, and even the recorded sound (see Appendix B) is reminiscent of the sound on his albums.
Through interdisciplinary research into mathematical chaos theory and early 1960's avant-garde jazz music, I have witnessed a great number of parallels between the two fields. Among other things, these two areas seemingly point to a lack of extremes in nature. It seems obvious, now, that the reason both idealistic ends of determinism and free will have been so successful at describing the same thing is because they're both correct. Even in the wild improvisations of Ornette Coleman and the turbulent flow of cream in a hot coffee cup, there is a deep underlying order.
Stochastic behavior occurring in a deterministic system.