Napier explores a tension between received tradition and individual expression in North Indian classical music. How should improvisation be understood, he asks, in a musical culture which prizes intergenerational continuity as much as innovation? He suggests that melodic moments should be viewed in that context as attempts at reconciling tradition with contemporary concerns. In this light, Napier argues that "improvisation" should in no instance be used to validate novelty without acknowledging reproduction and continuity.
1990s to Today
Miya Masaoka is a third generation Japanese American artist classically trained as a musician and composer. In her compositions and installations, she involves improvisation, interaction, spatialization, sensors, computers, and various media including video and film.
In this interview with fellow Japanese/American sound artist Keiko Uenishi I work outwards from the personal to consider the radical potential of internet-based sound and video improvisation to build community across ethnic and gender lines.
Recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder has been active since the 1940s. Skea notes that that the quality of Van Gelder's output rests not necessarily on technical innovation but on determination to master successive waves of state-of-the-art technology available to him and a legendary degree of perfectionism.
In this article, composer and educator Mike Heffley analyzes the libretto and score of a Braxton's magnum opus, the opera Trillium R (Shala Fears for the Poor) of 1991. With the term "speculative music," Heffley designates music as a "speculum," or a mirror of the natural world or cosmic order. Heffley considers the opera's libretto in the context of the entire corpus of Braxton's writings, particularly his Tri-Axium Writings of 1985. Heffley argues that Braxton's use of language is "a driving force behind, first, his music, and, further, his body of work as a whole . . ."
Bassist Tatsu Aoki produces Chicago's Asian American Jazz Festival. His work often draws on taiko, a form of folkloric Japanese drumming, as well as experimental jazz. Wong views Aoki's activity as a process of constructing a dynamic, transnational Asian American identity. She argues that Aoki takes his status as a "Shin Issei" (a recent Japanese immigrant) as a starting point, but aims to "become" American on his own terms-an aspiration of the contemporary Asian American community at large.
Dessen focuses on a group of San Francisco Bay Area musicians known as the Asian American Creative Music Movement. Inspired by the musical innovation and explicit political engagement of African-American experimental jazz, these musicians drew on their own ethnic traditions to make a statement about their contemporary situation. Their very success, however, compelled them to resist their cooptation by the media and music industry into an ethnic "ornament" on conventional jazz.
Just after World War II, American composers and jazz performers were interested in indeterminacy and improvisation. Yet the composers tended to deny the influence or importance of jazz in a tacit move to keep their music "pure" of associations with racial protest then emanating from the jazz sphere. Lewis identifies John Cage and Charlie Parker as representatives of "Eurological" and "Afrological" approaches, respectively, whose differences turn on their attitude toward the expression of race, ethnicity, class, and political ideology in music.
Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer have been frequent collaborators. In this conversation, they share their thoughts on the challenges of becoming South Asian jazz musicians: confronting their Indian-American families' attitudes toward the music, finding their own voice amidst the richness of Indian musical forms, engaging the South Asian American youth community in New York, dealing with various kinds of prejudice-all while trying to keep the creative edge in their music.
Stewart remarks that Paul D. Miller-better known as DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid-has created "a manifesto of sorts for the digital age." Stewart believes that Rhythm Science belongs in the first rank of theories of improvisation, because it views DJ culture in terms of improvisatory musical traditions associated with the African diaspora, and because Miller's writing style itself is improvisatory,"like the improvised freestyle of a hip hop MC."
Rudd's facility on the trombone and range of timbral effects placed him among the vanguard of the free jazz movement in the 1960s. It was rare at that time to find a trombonist who, according to Davis, could compete with "saxophonists who were bidding their horns to speak in tongues." Rudd nevertheless later experienced the economic consequences of staying dedicated to his art: Davis finds him playing in a Catskills resort in the early 1990s.