about Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis's ensemble


第3章(3)The Miles Davis Los Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensemble

Braxton Meets Musica Elettronica Viva in Belgium 



During the summer of 1969, as Miles Davis was preparing to record Bitches Brew and American rock fans were flocking to Woodstock, Braxton participated in an eclectic festival in Belgium. There he met Richard Teitelbaum, Alvin Curran, and Frederic Rzewski, members of Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). Teitelbaum recalls: 

1969年夏、マイルス・デイヴィスが「Bitches Brew」のレコーディング準備に奔走し、アメリカではロックファンがウッドストックに集結していた頃、ブラクストンはベルギーで、とある電子音楽のフェスに参加していた。ここで彼が出会うのが、リチャード・タイテルバウム、アルヴィン・カラン、そしてフレデリック・ジェフスキーという、ムジカ・エレットロニカ・ヴィヴァのメンバー達である。タイテルバウムは次のように振り返る 


I met Braxton in 1969 in a cow pasture in Belgium, in a place called Amougies, at a big festival [Festival Actuel] that was one of the original attempts to bring jazz [musicians] ― well, mostly rock, some free jazz, and a few wacky token electronic avant-garde types ― to play in the same festival. Braxton played there with his trio with Leroy Jenkins and [Wadada] Leo Smith. The Art Ensemble of Chicago played there, an extraordinary performance; that was the first time I heard them and met them. MEV was part of that. [Before that] I had barely known anything about of those [AACM] guys. 



Anthony Braxton speaks of the cow pasture as “something like five feet of mud in Belgium .... All of us were our 20s, excited about music and the idea of music as a component to change the world. We were going to change the world with our work. We were idealistic and excited.” 



Festival Actuel was a very different kind of event from the festivals where Miles Davis's band appeared. It would be different to imagine an American or British rock event encompassing an aesthetic palate as broad as Actuel's, with its blend of rock bands, MEV, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Anthony Braxton. In contrast, Davis's Lost Septet's final show, in late August 1970, was an appearance before three-quarters of a million people at the Isle of Wight rock festival in England. There Miles shared a bill with Jimi Hendrix, Chicago, the Who, Sly and the Family Stone, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Joni Mitchell, and others. That spring, in a shift from jazz clubs, festivals, and concert halls, Davis had given three series of concerts at Fillmore East in New York City and Fillmore West in San Francisco. These were rock halls where his band was the opening act for rock groups. 



Calling the festival in Amougies a “daring project,” Jane Welch wrote in DownBeat: 



Where Woodstock was a social revelation, the first Actuel Paris Music Festival was a musical revolution. This revolution was accomplished in the programming, which included all the kinds of music in which the new musicians and composers of today are involved ... The fact that it was a success (over 75,000 attended during a 5-day period) proves that audiences are ready to hear this type of music and, like the Woodstock masses, are willing to make sacrifices to take part in a musical milieu truly representative of their taste. The music was NOW, the audience was NOW and, despite all business or political opposition which attempted to abort the festival, the time was right and the baby was born. 



In addition to the nearly fifty groups performing individually, a jam session included Frank Zappa, Philly Joe Jones, Earl Freeman, Louis Maholo, John Dyani, Grachan Moncur III, and Archie Shepp. 



The Festival Actuel shows in Belgium were recorded, and additional sessions took place in Paris. Some of the musicians involved, most of them American, were already living abroad, and performed at the Pan-African Music Festival in Algiers. The result was a series of fifty recordings on the BYG label that represented some of the more important documentation of music from that period. Festival Actuel producers Fernand Boruso, Jean-Luc Young, and Jean Georgakarakos (more popularly shortened to Karakos) were the founders of BYG Records (the name was formed by the initials of the founders' surnames), and Anthony Braxton and the Art Ensemble of Chicago would each release recordings on that label. 



The propitious meeting between Braxton and Teitelbaum at Festival Actuel brought together two musicians raised in very different cultural settings, but sharing key musical and philosophical sensibilities. Whereas Braxton grew up on the South Side of Chicago, playing rock and roll and later discovering a broader musical world in the army and through the AACM, Teitelbaum hailed from New York City. He attended Haverford College, where his 



main interests at that time were Stravinsky and Bartok ... And then I started getting interested in Schoenberg and Webern, more in graduate school [Yale University class of 1964]; and Stockhausen through having met him. And jazz. I liked bebop a lot ... I don't think I got really into Coltrane until 1960 or something like that. [I went to hear his] quartet, that's my recollection, Jimmy Garrison, [McCoy] Tyner, [and Elvin Jones]. But then I heard him several times in the period of “Ascension.”.. And then I also was getting involved with free-jazz stuff. I met Albert Ayler. I went to see him in the Village, and a friend who knew him took me up, shook his hand; that was kind of exciting. 



Then Teitelbaum went to Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship to study composition with Luigi Nono. 



When I got to Venice, I was still writing this instrumental piece, but I was hanging out with [saxophonist] Steve Lacy, [trumpeter] Don Cherry, and others ― Ornette [Coleman] ― and listening to more jazz, really, than to classical or electronic music. I still somewhere have some notebooks where I have pages where I did something like this [gestures in the air with his hand] when I was listening to Coltrane's Ascension. I was really quite obsessed with the notion that noise was a thing that was a common between the jazz of that period, such as Ascension, where there were twenty guys blasting away and ten of them were percussionists, and the others were just blowing their brains out, and noise music ― electronic music. So, it was a very conscious awareness of the connection between improvised music, free improvised music, [and electronic music].   



In 1966 in Rome, MEV was cofounded by Teitelbaum, Alvin Curran, and Frederic Rzewski; all three were Ivy League university-trained American musicians steeped in post-World War II European avant-garde traditions. Curran and Teitelbaum had been graduate school roommates at Yele University, and Curran and Rzewski had met in Berlin. What they all sought was an alternative to the rigorously mathematical serialism of that world. While each musician came to Rome for different reasons, all were drawn to that city's musical and artistic vitality. Rome was the city of filmmaker Federico Fellini, and a home for expat American experimentalists like the Living Theatre and musicians Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, and Steve Lacy. 




MEV championed music that was collective, spontaneous, and participatory. Its members viewed their music-making as a revolutionary endeavor to empower people in the skill sets they would need during a time of social transformation. They envisioned a truly free society in which groups could function unconstrained by conventional, hierarchical political structures. Curran describes their endeavors as a “utopian challenge.” In works such as Rzewski's “Spacecraft”(1967), “Zuppa” (1968), and “Sound Pool” (1969), MEV thus drew from structures that allowed any number of participants, musically skilled or unskilled, to join in an improvisational experience. Curran writes: “What the group MEV essentially did was to redefine music as a form of property that belonged equally to everyone and hence to encourage its creation freely by and through anyone anywhere.” For this reason, conventional musical skills could be constraining, as Rzewski notes: “Improvisation is a controlled experiment with a limited number of unknown possibilities ... The presence of too much theoretical or analytical knowledge in the conscious mind may interfere with the essential act, so that the perception of the thing being studied becomes distorted.” For Curran, musical improvisation was an exemplar of a generalized approach to life, “the art of constant, attentive and dangerous living in every moment.” 

ムジカ・エレットロニカ・ヴィヴァが取り組んだ音楽は、集団で、自然発生的に、更には音楽以外でもパフォーマンスに加わることができるというものだ。メンバー達は音楽作りをどう見ていたかというと、「革命的な努力」により、人々に力を与える。これにより、身につくスキルの数々で、世の中の変革期を乗り切ってゆくというものである。彼らは心の自由な社会というヴィジョンを持っていた。そこでは、様々な集団は従来型の、階層を前提とした、政治的構造に縛られずに機能してゆく。カランは自分達のこうした企てを「ユートピア的挑戦」と呼んだ。ジェフスキーの「Space Craft」(1967年)、「Zuppa」(1968年)、そして「Sound Pool」(1969年)といった作品では、ムジカ・エレットロニカ・ヴィヴァは従来型の楽曲形式や構造を排除した。そうすることで、人数制限なく色々な人が参加できるようにするのだ。更には、音楽面で専門的な知識や技術があってもなくてもよくて、そうすることで一つの同じインプロヴィゼーションに加わることができるのだ。カランは次のように記している「ムジカ・エレットロニカ・ヴィヴァの取り組みの本質は、音楽を定義し直すことだ。それは、汎ゆる人にとって平等な存在であり、それゆえに、誰がどういう背景であっても自由に作れるよう促す、そんな姿をしたもの、というものだ。」そうした理由から、従来からある音楽の知識や技術といったものは、足かせとなってしまう。これについてはジェフスキーが次のように記している「インプロヴィゼーションとは、限られた数の未知の可能性を用いた、人の手による行為だ。理論や分析した知識を、意識的に駆使し過ぎては、彼らの取り組みの本質にとっては邪魔となる。こうなっては物事の捉え方が捻じ曲げられてしまう。」カランにとっては、音楽のインプロヴィゼーションとは、人生における汎ゆる物事への取り組みを集大成したものの一例であり、人生の、絶え間なく、気の抜けない、そして安穏とはしていられない一瞬一瞬を披露する腕前のことなのだ。 


For Braxton, the late 1960s, highlighted by his sojourn in Europe, was “a very beautiful time. Teitelbaum and Frederic [Rzewski] were moving away from Stockhausen; more and more they were becoming interested in improvisation and the transAfrican restructural musics.” He recalls hearing recordings of Stockhausen's Kontra-Punkte and Klavierstucke X (the latter performed by MEV pianist Rzewski): “I was very curious about the restructural breakthroughs of the post-Webern composers. So we kind of met in the middle of this sector. I learned a great deal about the post-Webern continuum from Mr. Teitelbaum and Mr. Rzewski and Curran.” Braxton refers to the members of MEV “as a part of this underground brotherhood-sisterhood that is permeated with love and respect ― and of course, poverty! That's how I see my work. That is the proper context for my work. It's a part of the old underground.” 



The musical values that Anthony Braxton affirmed at the time were in important ways sympathetic to MEV's call to arms, although maybe not as anarchic. In an MEV performance, social dynamics could unfold that were neither predictable nor alway easy to manage. Curran observes: 




Anything could happen ... [There was] a generic problem that was happening in the MEV experience in those years, 68, 69, and 70. Because of, let's call it, philosophic necessity, we found that we had to open the music to anybody. When this went from a mere philosophical, conceptual idea to a practical one, the problems that arose were minor actually, were few. It was more like policing a rowdy crowd on occasion. Other times we're just sitting back and listening to this divine collective harmony that just happens spontaneously because we made it happen, or the people involved made it happen for themselves. 



Braxton wrote sympathetically, in 1968: 



We're on the eve of the complete fall of Western ideas and life-values ... We're in the process of developing more meaningful values and our music is a direct extension of this. We place more emphasis on the meaningful areas of music and less on artifacts, [today's] over-emphasis on harmonic structure, chord progressions, facility, mathematics, the empirical aspects of Art. Our emphasis is on the idea of total music, with each individual contributing toward it totally ... We're dealing with textures, now ― individual worlds of textures. We're working toward a feeling of one ― the complete freedom of individuals in tune with each other, complementing each other. This is going to be the next phase of jazz. 



In fact, Braxton's eclectic musical vision was just beginning to unfold. Six years after his prophetic statement, he urged a younger musicians to listen to Henry Cowell, Paul Desmond, and Charles Ives, referring to the latter as “Father” Charles Ives. And he spoke excitedly about various people whom he felt were “the most incredible _____ on the planet ... The direction he was trying to move into with his own music was composed music. Braxton didn't want to call it classical, just like he didn't want to call his other, small-group stuff with all the improvisation, jazz.” 



At the close of the 1960s, the spirit of the time was being open to possibilities. There was a sense of living on the cusp of a new era of unlimited freedom, where responsible action would be based on mutuality and interrelationship. In this environment, MEV and Anthony Braxton would find shared sensibilities and impetus to collaborate. Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette could push Miles Davis's band toward a greater openness. And soon, that common cause would extend to a musical partnership between Corea, Holland, and Braxton.