Review—Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia 1836-1970


In Playing Ad Lib, musicologist John Whiteoak explores improvisation in music that was never recorded. His evidence consists of print sources and anecdotes from throughout Australia. These include incomplete scores, published execution "methods" (e.g., for playing ragtime), snippets of advertisements, and published stories. Because of Australia's relative isolation, musicians encountered "waves of decontextualised musical influences." Turning toward Australia's more modern "exploratory" jazz movement in the 1960s, Whiteoak notes the serious intent and conceptual focus behind an apparently ultraradical experimental culture.

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Australia, book reviews, experimental music, free jazz, improvisation, jazz, John Whiteoak, Melbourne