When I was in the Sixth Form at school I got involved -though the local youth orchestra- in playing the double bass in some of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. Looking back, I realize I had no idea how lucky I was to live in a town where there were sufficient committed young musicians to do this. They are still among my favourite music. There's so much going on, and yet nothing is superfluous. Everyone involved has something interesting to do: everyone is playing a different tune, or part of the tune, all at the same time. As the music flies by, your ear can wander from one instrument to another.
Around the same time I used to meet regularly with a sax player and a clarinetist for sessions of free improvisation (I've just googled them. Ben is now a herbalist and storyteller, Paul still seems to be playing his clarinet in the South Wales Clarinet Choir).
One of the intriguing things about free improvisation in a group is the way the minds of the players work together. It's intriguing in ordinary social situations, using the currency of words and body-language. Dispense with words and interact intuitively with sound and all sorts of things begin to happen. (For example, it's commonplace when you get deeply absorbed in making sounds together to spontaneously end together). I still enjoy making music like this - it's just a case of finding others who share my opinion! I do understand the point of view, too, which says that this form of music making is often more enjoyable for those taking part than for those listening. I've no problem with that, but if people like to listen, they can: it's an adventure, and all kinds of things happen that could never be written down or repeated. I had a look around Youtube to see if I could find anyone doing the kind of thing we did (what fun we'd have had with the internet then, had it been around!). Listening to these guys from Brazil really took me back:
5 years ago