JazzInkBlog: Elements of Style

From elsewhere on the blog-o-sphere, blogger Andrea Canter writes up the Dave Douglas residency at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis at her JazzInkBlog. Reading it made me want to go back to my college days and sit in those classrooms again. Here’s an excerpt…

Douglas proved to be as articulate and down to earth as an educator as he is in his music. He elicited respect and returned it readily. This was serious business but Dave made sure it was relevant and enjoyable. Everyone had a chance to participate, everyone’s work was worthy of evaluation and suggestion. The workshop proceeded from some brainstorming about the components of music composition to trying out simple ideas and variations on paper and then on stage, mostly the Dakota Combo playing out the concepts on the first night, adding groups of other young musicians the second night as students presented their fledgling compositions. For each composition, Douglas identified at least one kernel of creative energy that he turned into a lesson in vivo, a suggestion for expansion, an opportunity to experiment. And always, a reminder that jazz is a collaborative process, that they are composing for improvisers. “Some of your best ideas will come from members of your band,” he said.

By the end of the second night, at least ten student compositions had debuted on stage, often with Douglas right there in the horn section. And keeping up with his students, Dave also brought in a composition in progress, offering self critique and seeking student comments. A theme throughout the workshop was summed early when he told the young composers, “I don’t want to get technical at the expense of emotion.”


Plenty more to read over there. Plus a few pictures from the workshops. Thanks for posting, Andrea.