Introduction

Nowadays is an artistic research project based on an examination of jazz standards. In a parallel set of articles, I am exploring the way that our shared repertoire and its evolution over time constitute the discourse of jazz. In these articles and in this project I characterise the jazz standard repertoire as an archive of discourse on a particular musical topic. The archive is constituted by a combination of recordings, printed materials, lessons, practice sessions and live performances. As J.A. Bowen observed, our understanding of a tune is subjective based on our experiences: in jazz, it is difficult to identify an original work (is it the composer’s score, or an influential recording?) and even if we can, it holds no ‘exceptional authority’(1993). Rather than privileging any one version, whether performed or notated, this project is based on a genealogical approach that takes as its starting point the archive of musical knowledge that accretes around a particular tune.

Nowadays can be listened to as an online album in a state of unfolding. I will continue to add to it over time as long as the project interests me. Accompanying the recorded materials there are analyses, interviews and theorisation which you can access via the links provided.

Reference List

Guide for Collaborators

In this project there are a few precepts that I am hoping will lead us to a deeper understanding of jazz practice. I would like to know more about the ways that we navigate and draw on tradition. I would like to know how what we think is important in a tune affects our interpretation. I am also looking at this as an opportunity to collaborate and to extend my usual way of working.

The process that I suggest, is to agree on a single tune that we will first investigate separately and later together. There is deliberate ambiguity in the word ‘investigate’. Depending on your way of working this might include listening to different recordings, looking at different printed sources, talking to other musicians, or working through your own ideas.

After you have done your initial investigations I want to understand what you think the essential and inessential elements of the tune are. We might talk about these then discuss how to respond to those musically, or we might simply ‘work it out’ through performance. These questions might be a useful guide:

  • Which parts of the tune are important to you?

  • How did you come to think of those parts as being important?

Proposed collaborators:

Bruce Woodward; Kristin Berardi; Sean Foran; Sophie Min; Andrew Garton; James Sandon; Helen Russell; Andrew Shaw and Chris Vale.

Bruce.jpg

Song 2

  • embedded audio file

  • transcription (opt.)

  • discussion/analysis

Bruce woodward

“Gone with the Wind” by Allie Wrubel.

 

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