Jump

Cor Fuhler - archtop guitar
Ken Allars - trumpet
Sam Dobson - bass
James 'Pug' Wapples - drums

From my thesis for my PhD at the Sydney University:

 

Herbie Nichols (USA 1919 - 1963) was one of those jazz composers and pianists working with intros, codas and slightly unusual forms. After I performed a concert with my piano trio at the conservatory in Amsterdam my teacher told me my playing and compositions reminded him of Herbie Nichols and I should ‘check him out’. During my studies in the 80s my main problem with bebop and free-jazz was its lack of interesting forms. Mostly it was an endlessly repeated 32-bar long AABA, first the theme and then solos in a fixed order: horns first, then piano, then bass, and possibly drums before going back to the theme. In my own jazz pieces I started incorporating parts around the main form: intros, codas and intermissions. Sometimes the length of the parts was fixed, sometimes open, sometimes the theme was played at the end only, sometimes a theme was absent and sometimes bass and piano played an accompaniment for a drum solo. All in all, I was trying to create interpunction on a macro level and juxtapose various composed, half-composed and improvised parts in order to find angles that would shed a different light on details within those parts.

 

I found that much of what characterizes an intro, coda, the A - B parts or an intermission is the interpretation of the content rather than the content itself.

 

In my quartet ‘Jump’ I further develop this idea by focussing on modules that are flexible enough to function as start, middle or end and in that way provide tools to create various forms. This interpretational approach can be a key towards opening up a doorway between the language of traditional jazz and contemporary form: the structural and functional openness of the compositional building blocks.

 

Living in Australia made me reconsider what instruments I would give priority. Too often a venue would not possess a piano therefore the guitar was an obvious choise. It would give me the freedom to perform anywhere at anytime. I had bought a bare and abandoned ’57 archtop Hofner ‘jazzbox’ guitar, fixed her up and added two Dearmond humbucking pickups and a piezo pickup inside the bridge. This would give me a direct translation from fingers to speaker since I use no pedals and all spectral and timbral effects are done ‘manually’. The amp I use is a Henriksen JazzAmp which is renowned for its neutral rendition, leaving all colouring to me and the guitar.

 

The music showing on paper appears to be simple. Perspectives, angles and perceptions derive from the interpretation of the parts and the interaction between the players during the performance. The score functions as a formula for sounds, dimensions and above all, narratives, not necessarilly complex in a direct way but celebrating the beauty and simultaneous absurdity of simple things.

 

Filmmaker and actor Jacques Tati (1907 - 1982) says:

 

“I want to show who's who in other ways. What's what. . . . I believe I like the secondary characters in a film best. They breathe the truth. . . I should like to film a little the differences individuals can make . . . There are two universes now, you see. That is what I am always trying to show.”[1]

 

In 1959 photographer Philippe Halsman published his Jump Book.

 

"Starting in the early 1950s I asked every famous or important person I photographed to jump for me.  I was motivated by a genuine curiosity.  After all, life has taught us to control and disguise our facial expressions, but it has not taught us to control our jumps.  I wanted to see famous people reveal in a jump their ambition or their lack of it, their self-importance or their insecurity, and many other traits." –P.H. [2]

 

Jump aims to jump in a similar fashion.

 

[1] Gilliatt, Penelope. Jacques Tati (The Entertainers). London: Woburn Press, 1976.

[2] Halsman, Philippe. Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book. New York: Harry M. Abrams, 1986. Quote taken from: http://philippehalsman.com/?image=jumps

Jump live at Foundry 616, 2014.