Monday, January 16, 2017

Victor Goines * Untamed Elegance Suite * 2016

The history of jazz is shockingly compressed: while it took European 'classical' music centuries to move from baroque polyphony through gallant and romantic styles to modernism, jazz compressed it all into a big bang of a couple of decades. Because of that, if instead of always searching for the next "new thing", we go back and re-investigate these styles, we'll paradoxically find there is much more "new" work to be done, with plenty left to reach audiences.
Victor Goines' new Untamed Elegance Suite is a great example. Here's a movement entitled "Laboratories of Ideas." The tune sounds like vintage Jelly Roll Morton era writing, with a catchy melody and section parts, but it's original. The solos, while fitting into the context of the style, also make use of language developed through the bop era--so we're not talking about "historical performance" or getting back to a recreation of early jazz, but contribution to a living tradition. This is the sort of thing I've been working on in my own compositions and soloing style for several years, although on a small group level. So far, I have preferred as much ensemble improvisation as possible, deriving directly from the New Orleans polyphonic concept and going up through modern contexts, but Goines' work suggests a great way forward in larger contexts as well.

I encourage people to check out this exciting new work. 


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