Friday, December 04, 2009

Beyond Equal Temperment.

Here is an article and video on a returnable piano, allowing the pianist a whole tone of deviation from the fixed tuning of the instrument.

Now it is time to make a control device that slides the tuners in real-time so that a piece can move from one tuning system to another without encumbering a pianist with all of the changes needed to move among different tuning systems.

"Edgar Varèse and the Jazzmen" (MP3s)

Today's post is something I stumbled upon in the dark and dusty corners of the Internet, a tape recording of composer Edgar Varèse conducting a workshop of Jazz musicians in the year 1957. Here is the original announcement of the MP3 release of these tapes.

What is really amazing is this post on WFMU, here is the write up on WFMU
Edgard_Varese Edgard Varèse conducts a workshop with jazzmen Art Farmer (trumpet), Hal McKusik (clarinet, alto sax), Teo Macero (tenor sax), Eddie Bert (trombone), Frank Rehak (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Hall Overton (piano), Charlie Mingus (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), probably John La Porta (alto sax)... We don't know who is on vibes...

It might be the first free jazz recording (totally unissued) of History of Music. Varèse might have influenced jazzmen or was he only aware of what was happening on the jazz scene? No matter of the answer, it's a bomb, as this music is 3 years earlier than Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman! We also know Charlie Parker wanted to study with Varèse in autumn 1954 but the composer flew to Europe to conduct Déserts. When he came back to New York in May 1955, Parker had already died. We also know that Varèse used to listen to John Coltrane at the Village.

Between March and August 1957, these Sunday jam-sessions were followed by arranger George Handy, journalist Robert Reisner, composers James Tenney, Earle Brown and John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham. The organizers were Earle Brown and Teo Macero who will become Miles Davis' producer among others. Varèse used certain extracts of the workshop for his Poème électronique.

The original of this tape is at Fondation Paul Sacher.

Take a listen it is fabulous. And there are bits of Poeme Electronic in the mix.


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