THE NAPKIN SYMPHONY for J.S.B.

This four movement symphony is called the NAPKIN because the main themes were written on a napkin, and in a hurry.

It was created in a process called here "FULL STREAM MUSIC." The baroque style is employed as a jumping off point for a melding of improvisation and real-time composition. We love to narrow down music to a STYLE, yet this music is not strictly THIRD STREAM JAZZ - as coined once upon a time by Gunther Schuller.

(not 3rd stream, continued)

This work as well as many other compositions here are

  • jazz played with strings and classical instruments,
  • classical music improvised by a jazz (improvisational) player,
  • consists of inserted bits of 'this and that' at whim and at will,
  • jazz performed by a jazz player in fugal form!

If it requires a label - it should be called INTEGRAL STYLE MUSIC (-ISM); the process by which it was created: FULLSTREAM composition. (Subcategories would be (according to dominant trends) Jazz-ISM, Classical-ISM, Folk-ISM, Rock-ISM; Blues-ISM; Country-ISM) It appears to be a valid approach to 'composition'; arguably does not bastardize its components. It is another option for today's dreamers.



. . . what is it?

FULL-STREAM-MUSIC ©™: the unimpeded flow of composition through improvisation. While it is being played acoustically it is being concurrently notated (and many times later orchestrated.) Here FULL STREAM MUSIC is arguably more related to jazz than any other genre because jazz is my specialty.

In terms of Jazz, the FSM approach tends to remove a layer of 'jazz' clich├ęs to reveals an underlying musical sensibility in the improvisations. The improvisations are heard in depth as intended. Pianists struggle for this kind of clarity in the complexity of their notions. The instrument comes close at times in expressing the root ideas, but in the end it is simply incapable.



Finally: A Smart "Synthesizer"

Many pianists playing in small jazz ensembles are actually hearing layer upon layer of orchestration. This, more than anything, once drew me to ARP and other string synthesizers. Their sound was dreadful, though. The sampling technology of today has changed that.

What is being done here is as old as the keyboardist/ organist who once improvised to silent films. However, the novelty now is in the action of uninterrupted playing, composing, notating, and recording simultaneously, while en-auditioning resultant independent layers of sound.


Why the "NAPKIN SYMPHONY?"

This particular symphony was played/composed after pondering BACH'S probable approach to the Brandenburg concertos. Bach was a brilliant serial melodist who parlayed linear source material into polyphony. It seems to me that the Brandenburg concertos are hugely long lines of melody, with or without 'period' accompaniment. Supportive evidence for this notion: his solo cello and violin partitas, which are mostly monophonic, but which suggest rich polyphony, anyway.

Overtly styled jazz occurs in the middle of each movement: each SOLO section - retrospectively designated - is based on the harmonies of a preceding section, once the already improvised harmony is symbolized.

There are many as yet un-posted examples of "FSM" in which the distinction between jazz and 'not jazz' is irrelevant.