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Improv:21:
Roscoe Mitchell - Improvising with Mr. Mitchell

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Item Type: Video Duration: 96 min
Event Type: Lecture / Panel Discussion Program Origin: ROVA

Recorded on February 20, 2008, at the Marsh, in San Francisco, Derk Richardson introduces saxophonist, composer, and improviser extraordinaire, Roscoe Mitchell. The very embodiment of the deliberate and intelligent artist, Mitchell proceeds to hold court before an attentive and appreciative audience, presenting some of his musical collaborations, and sharing his ideas about improvising while also answering a variety of interesting questions. One of the first members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Mitchell has always been at the forefront of the experimental free-jazz movement, and is a firm believer that music is 50% sound and 50% silence. Mr. Mitchell describes his attempts to teach students the art of improvisation and how to address many of the challenges that even he still faces when improvising. To aid his students in addressing these problems Mitchell has developed a number of techniques, including scored or guided improvisations in which certain parameters such as duration are predetermined, and giving students materials to work with, such as a set of cards with notation, which they are then instructed to arrange in their own order and tempo. Other tips include advice on how to extend one’s concentration and encouragement for people to look within and discover their own unique voices. Mitchell also stresses the importance that an ensemble engaging in improvisation must learn to listen to each other and to take into account the variety of dynamics, and to seek to increase available choices. In addition, improvisers should know something about composition and orchestration in order to recognize the options and limitations involved. When asked about how he feels about his music having influenced younger musicians he senses that in many ways the ideas that were prevalent in the 1960s were now coming full circle and that it is important for musicians to be united and in control of their destinies in order to have their music flourish. In this way it is his hope that music will remain linked with real life and that we can leave the era of the composer and enter one of the super-musician. An era that Mr. Roscoe is clearly comfortable and qualified inhabiting.

Musical Selections:  [improvisation on a single note] (5:55) -- Silver Shadows (ca. 1990) (3:33) -- The Sunday Driver (ca. 1990) (4:00)
Performers:  Roscoe Mitchell, saxophone, etc... (all)
Steve Sylvester, bull roarers and wind wands (Silver ; Sunday)
Vartan Manoogian, violin (Sunday)
Genres:  Jazz; Free Improvisation
Subject:  Jazz; Improvisation (Music); Unconventional instruments; Saxophone music; Saxophone and percussion music; Instrumental ensembles
People:  Richardson, Derk; Mitchell, Roscoe, 1940-; Sylvester, Steve; Manoogian, Vartan
Recording Date:  02/20/2008
 
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