Philoctetes Center

Jazz Improvisation and the Written Word (June 12, 2008)

Music Performance & Discussion
Participants: Jane Ira Bloom, Jay Clayton, Jerry Granelli, David Tronzo

There has always existed an important relationship between sound and words in the sonic world of jazz musicians. Singers and instrumentalists have influenced one another throughout the history of jazz, from Louis Armstrong to Billie Holiday to Miles Davis, and that interaction has colored the quality of their improvisation. Today, jazz musicians have sought out new kinds of relationships between sound and word through lyrics, poetry, literature, and dramatic narrative. Whether through the explicit use of narrative in music or the use of the literary impulse as a springboard for improvisation, the power of words has taken on new meaning in contemporary jazz. Four world-renowned jazz improvisers come together to perform and talk about the different ways that the impulse of words propels their music. Soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom, modern vocalist Jay Clayton, drummer/ percussionist Jerry Granelli, and slide guitarist David Tronzo.