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Free Jazz

  Most jazz improvisation is based on pre-existing material, either from the general repertoire or specially composed or agreed by the band in question. The ‘pull’ between individual creation and our knowledge of the original material is one of the main components of the show. In free jazz, the players use no pre-existing material—except possibly an agreement among themselves about the length and sequence of each section or each piece—but improvise at will. Harmony, melody and rhythm are subject to no pre-conditions. There have been many free-jazz solo artists, and solo work may seem to be the natural way to perform free jazz. But in group work, the players\' interaction and mutual inspiration (a feature of all jazz) is particularly important, and contributes to the feeling of vertiginous excitement, of creative tightrope-walking, characteristic of the style. KMcL

See also improvisation.



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