If there is one thing about playing jazz that’s shrouded in mystery, it is improvisation.
Improvisation exists in other types of music, even in musical traditions from the far reaches of the globe, but in jazz it goes much deeper. It is somehow vitally tied to the spirit of the music, and it’s not just musicians who recognize the power of the improvised solo. This essence has been captured in everything from literature to movies to pop culture.
There is something alluring about the idea of the jazz musician; a creative soul channeling the intangible through their instrument, essentially creating something out of nothing.
However, despite all of the attention, we still can’t seem to define this creative endeavor. You can get a degree in jazz studies, you can study the philosophy behind improvisation and creativity, and you can even scan the brains of improvising musicians to discover the secret pathways of the mind in its most creative state, but there still seem to be more questions than answers.
Alas, improvising continues to remain an elusive mystery.
As musicians hard at work developing this skill in the practice room, we often get lost in the music. It can be all too easy to lose the ability to look at the music objectively from an outside perspective and after some time, we’re no longer able to hear music with a naive untrained ear.
We become part of the music and suddenly we see the world in a different way. It’s … Read More