A series of four 55 minute films shown on Channel 4 TV in the UK in early 1992. Written and narrated by Derek Bailey.
A series of four 55 minute films shown on Channel 4 TV in the UK in early 1992. To say this was the best and most intelligent analysis of improvisation to be screened on UK television is probably unnecessary: it has in all likelihood been the only televised programme on this form of music-making. Written and narrated by Derek Bailey, produced and directed by Jeremy Marr, it developed out of the first edition of Bailey’s book on improvisation (the broadcast almost coinciding with the publication of the second edition) and attempted to provide a world-view of the subject, not being bound by country, musical genre or preconception. The four programmes were:
1: Passing it on
Broadcast 2 February 1992 this programme featured: Douglas Ewart at Haynes School in Chinatown, Chicago; improvisation in Mozart with Robert Levin, piano and the Acadamy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood; John Zorn and Cobra; improvisation in religious and devotional music and communities with: Naji Hakim – organ improvisations in Paris; Gaelic psalm singing on the Scottish Isles of Harris and Lewis; and Indian singing with Pundit Hanuman Misra.
2: Movements in time
Broadcast 9 February 1992, tracing the effects of migration on improvising links across continents and the production of new styles from the combinations: qawwali from the Sufis in New Delhi, Northern India; Hindu music of Rajistan with Ram Narayan; early medieval music performed in Andalucia by Symphony (Stevie Wishart, Mark Loopuy, Jim Denley); improvisation in dance with: Mario Maya, flamenco; Indian kathak mime and movement; and Egyptian gypsy music; the mixture of Cuban music and jazz with Eddie Palmieri.
3: A liberating thing
Broadcast 16 February 1992, concentrating on jazz based and free improvisation. With Max Roach at the Harlam School of the Arts; Butch Morris conducting (with, among others, Shelley Hirsch); Sang-Won Park and Korean music; Max Eastley’s sound sculptures; Derek Bailey (solo and fleetingly with Phil Wachsmann, Steve Noble and Alex Ward); Steve Noble and Alex Ward duo; Nashville musicians including Buddy Emmons; Eugene Chadbourne.
4: Nothin premeditated
Broadcast 23 February 1992, with Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead; Buddy Guy; George Lewis and computers (and in quartet with Douglas Ewart and sound and video generation); mbira music from Zimbabwe; music of the Tonga people; concluding with a house party on the Lower East side.
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