The Praxis of Composition-Improvisation and the Poetics of Creative Kinship

Tamar Barzel

in Jazz/Not Jazz

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271036
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951358 | DOI:
The Praxis of Composition-Improvisation and the Poetics of Creative Kinship

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This chapter focuses on the so-called downtown scene—a phrase coined by critics to describe a collaborative network of composer-improvisers that developed in and around Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1980s and 1990s. Embracing an aesthetic of genre mixing and syntactical boundary pushing, downtown musicians—including Anthony Coleman, John Zorn, Don Byron, Shelley Hirsch, and Marty Ehrlich—drew freely on modern jazz, free jazz, rock, punk, and twentieth-century experimentalism from the European concert tradition. This chapter proposes that the scene—which was largely supported by the Knitting Factory, a downtown club—can be understood best through its role in furthering the discourse of composition-improvisation.

Keywords: downtown scene; jazz; improvisation; Knitting Factory; Anthony Coleman; John Zorn; Don Byron; Shelley Hirsch; Marty Ehrlich

Chapter.  7888 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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