Jazz Practice Research Birmingham

Jazz Practice-Research Birmingham (JPRB) was created as an online space for members of a group of research-active jazz and improvised music performers based at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) to share and discuss their work. The group was established by members of a wider network of jazz researchers based in Birmingham City University (BCU), and was set up to focus specifically on research that incorporates improvisation as a methodological component. 

Abstract One of the most common descriptions of jazz is as a music of originality and self-expression. However, how often do we actually question what it means to be ‘original’ or ‘creative’? And if so, how should we go about it? I will begin by introducing how artists, writers and philosophers have understood and tackled concepts of originality and creativity, and examine how this process of critical questioning can affect the creative process. Following this I will draw on some specific examples of creative jazz methodologies before offering some personal reflections on strategies for developing a personal and original approach to jazz performance based on a fundamental understanding of the tradition of the music. 

Abstract Practice-based research (or artistic research) is an increasingly established part of conservatory culture; in which performers pursue theoretical and practical methodologies to further musical knowledge unremoved from the music itself. The breadth of artistic practices logically calls for matching approaches to knowledge-gathering – unfixed and fluctuating by shifting contexts and perspectives – making it counterproductive (and impossible) to find a defining set of methodologies and theoretical platforms suitable for our field. The following presentation shows some solutions to living with ‘one foot in each camp’ – theory and practice – providing clues to how artistic and academic work can be mutually beneficial. This is exemplified by a variety of projects based around my role as an improviser, ranging from the Slovakian/Norwegian Gypsy-project Angrisori, to an in-depth interview with Alexander von Schlippenbach and recordings of his music – both projects constructed as desperate attempts at avoiding the pitfalls of pseudo-art and pseudo-research. Bio…