How Can Re-Interpretative Decisions Contribute to Agency Within Jazz Performance?

Date/Time: Thu 14 Sep / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location: Monash University, Room E561, (Menzies Building) 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

Music Research Seminar 

How Can Re-Interpretative Decisions Contribute to Agency Within Jazz Performance?

A composition can influence jazz ensemble performance by the way it is notated, the musical materials used, its suitability for the individual practitioners, and the space it allows for interpretation, interaction, and flexibility within a performance. The agency of the performer in developing reinterpretations of jazz standards was explored through partially notated arrangements and improvisations within the development and performance of two recordings by the Paul Williamson Quartet. 

The aim of this study was to explicate the ways in which individual and collective agency are shaped by focusing on how the reinterpretations affected the performers’ choices and, conversely, the effect performers’ choices had on ensemble improvisation. 

The arrangements and performances were guided by referents and refined by real-time performance decisions. This approach facilitated increased flexibility within the reinterpretations with specific melodic, harmonic and rhythmic referents acting as signifiers. These signifiers, in turn, provided an identifiable commonality between the otherwise antithetical frameworks of traditional and free jazz improvisation that co-exist on these recordings, facilitating a novel creative work. This artistic research considered agency in relation to the intention, goals and subsequent choices made by the individuals and ensemble in jazz performance through practice-led and heuristic methodologies. 

Australian jazz trumpeter, composer and educator, Dr Paul Williamson, has established a reputation for producing distinctive recordings of outstanding ensemble performances. 

In addition to his ten commercially CD releases, Williamson has performed with international jazz artists at festivals and venues in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Williamson is a faculty member at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. 

For further information, please contact Adrian McNeil on 50785.


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