Modern Jazz Movement
IMPROVISATION IN JAZZ IS A PARADOX.
To the Listener, it is a free flowing, spontaneous celebration of sound. Jazz is the language of freedom, and solos are a musician's personal expression. But upon closer observation one could conclude that improvisation is an extremely severe and demanding craft. Jazz solos express the musician's direct ideas, emotions, and feelings. These expressions must be spontaneous, and nothing should interfere with improvisational elements. Yet the musicians operate within a scholarly frame work of theory and composition as demanding as any in the arts, and perhaps more so.
Coherent, collective thinking makes for the most successful jazz music produced. Within a given ensemble of jazz musicians, sympathetic thinking, when achieved, leads to beautiful and breathtaking results. One of the best-known jazz musicians of our era has said Duke Ellington might be the greatest band leader ever, because of his ability to hold together the myriad talents and personalities his orchestras contained.
Yet Ellington's written music, once his legendary improvisationalists or soloists are removed, begins to sound dry and institutional. His collective succeeded, in part, because it was propelled by personal narratives the solos united in sympathetic thoughts and musical expressions within the ensemble.
Modern Jazz Movement is a true jazz collective. The interplay among the members spills out of their playing and into their audiences, negating one of the frequently expressed criticisms leveled against jazz, that it is a musicians music.
MJM creates accessible, original and soulful jass, as it was once called in the Crescent City. Their sound is akin to the straight ahead, East Coast school of jazz. When listening to Modern Jazz Movement, their initial release, or attending one of their performances, one could easily be convinced they are listening to a composition from Miles Davis's mid-sixties quintet their original material is that good! And Modern Jazz Movement is solely original material, from the ephemeral, slow groove of Cloud to the modal workout of Now What.
|George Benson Jazz
Jazz music today is moving into the arena of ensemble playing, as opposed to improvisation. Recordings and performances by jazz units as diverse as those of Wynton Marsalis to Henry Threadgill bear witness to that truth. Jazz needs expressions of freedom in every era to reconfirm its vitality. Thankfully, MJM is a practicing improvisational jazz group. And they project the essence and the feel that people need to hear to experience rich, improv jazz.
-Mark R. Bacon, on Modern Jazz Movement, 2000