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April 27, 2009

waiting to understand what the other is doing

Posted by dogpossum on April 27, 2009 4:55 PM

In the comments to my last entry, Jac writes that she likes the Billie/Louis duet:

It's like listening in on a conversation... :)

And I replied
Yeah - that's what I like about it. I think that's what people like about the Ella and Louis duets as well - a conversation between really gifted musicians.

This is something I like about really good small group instrumentals as well - it sounds like a conversation between friends. The better the musicians, the better it sounds; they can echo and build on the contributions of others, keeping or building on the feel and topic. The Oscar Peterson trio do some really good stuff like this.

Reading through Ake's book Jazz Cultures I've found this quote from Sidney Bechet about rag time:

Bechet made it clear that his joy and creativity were piqued when playing among musicians like those mentioned above who were his peers in improvisational-interplay abilities. And it was the continual challenge of creating sounds that complimented and inspired bandmates that he found to be most satisfying.
That's the thing about ragtime... It ain't a writing down where you just play what it says on the paper in front of you, and so long as you do that he arranger, he's taken care of everything else. When you're really playing ragtime, you're feeling it out, you're playing to the other parts, you're waiting to understand what the other man's doing, and then you're going with his feeling, adding what you have of your feeling.
(Ake 33)

This is exactly the way I feel about lindy hop. When you're working in a partnership, it's not a matter of performing or completing choreographed moves. It's about responding to your partner, 'waiting to understand what the other is doing'. That's what makes social dancing to live music so freaking damn good. You don't know what's happening next. You don't know what the musicians'll do next. You just have to listen and move and make it up and respond. It's wonderful. Just wonderful.

"waiting to understand what the other is doing" was posted in the category dulwich hill massive and lindy hop and other dances and music and research

April 22, 2009


Posted by dogpossum on April 22, 2009 6:20 PM | Comments (0)

Today a middle aged bloke walked past me in Ashfield and said "I'm the only Aussie here!" very loudly.
I thought 'well, no - we're all Australian. You're one of the few skips here today, that's all.'

"australian" was posted in the category dulwich hill massive


About dogpossum

i live in melbourne sydney, australia, like jazz music and dance, swear too much, sew, drink a lot of tea and adore puns. ask me about my phd.