If you're looking for something innovative, challenging and
exciting to kick off your school year, you've just got to
get this book.
Lee Bash, Jazz Educators Journal
Collier asks long overdue questions and offers provocative
answers, about the relevance of current jazz education
Mark Levine, jazz pianist and author
Your music is wonderful and your book is full of important concepts for all, students and professionals.
Justin DiCioccio, Manhattan School of Music
From the Introduction
What needs to be addressed in jazz education is the development of improvisation in all its forms, individual and collective, textural and structural, in the minds of all the players in any jazz situation. (This is especially needed in the average college big band, where usually only a few can improvise - or feel that they can.) The workshops in this book are designed to help all levels of improviser. They can help the raw beginner start the process of learning to improvise.... The workshops can also help the technically fluent improviser who often needs to be taught to listen more and consider the overall picture rather than just his or her own contribution.
Introduction: Three kinds of improvising
Part One: Opening up the combo
Chapter One What is Jazz? Moving towards a working definition
Chapter Two The Bebop thing, What’s going on and what’s going wrong
Chapter Three Tradition & the “New” thing - Jazz Changes
Part Two: The large jazz ensemble - opening up the big band
Chapter Four Under the Pier, Structural improvising on the blues
Chapter Five Ryoanji, Textural Improvising in a Japanese Garden
Chapter Six One by One the Cow goes by, Possible Pictures
Some readers are going to easily relate to what Collier has to say and use it as a point of departure while others are likely to feel either threatened or offended. Although he strongly challenges the status quo in jazz and especially jazz education, his work holds the promise of liberating the music and our classrooms like nothing I have encountered in print. So if you're looking for something innovative, challenging and exciting to kick off your school year, you've just got to get this book.
Lee Bash, Jazz Educators Journal
I shall not try to review the pedagogical relevance, only point out that the fundamental visions which Collier describes thoroughly are there for all to learn. The problem is probably that those who could really benefit from Collier's visions and directions - namely those without fantasy, unqualified, scared third-rate musicians who are harrying most educational institutions the world over - will be the last to be open to conceptions such as creativity, new ways of thinking and responsibility.
Erling Kroner, Jazz Special, Denmark
In this thought provoking book, Graham Collier reaffirms and reclaims originality and improvisation as the essence of jazz music and warns of the dangers of Aebersoldism - ‘learning jazz by numbers’. He goes on to discuss the potential of improvisation as stretching beyond the mainstream notions of form - i.e. time and changes, in favour of textural, structural, collective and spontaneous improvisation.
Simon Purcell, The Musician
Interaction, Opening Up the Jazz Ensemble is being discussed in classes and it has already influenced the way I am coaching the jazz combo and big band that I am directing as part of my assistantship. Your thoughts about the function of jazz compositions being ‘to inspire the soloists concerned’ have really influenced me, especially in coaching the combo.
From a letter received from Tom Giampietro, a 2005 Jazz Teaching Assistant at the University of Northern Iowa
Published by Advance Music in 1995 as a Book and CD package. Available from them and all good jazz stores.
Click here for more on Graham Collier's highly praised new book the jazz composer, moving music off the paper