Lately, I’ve been rehearsing original music dating from 2008 to today with a trio format (bass and drums). Though I detail my originals and arrangements, I leave plenty of room to let anything happen. It is an openness grounded by form that gives my compositions structure. After all what I’m creating is jazz, only very loosely based.
No matter what style of music, musicians should have their own sound and personalized style with the vocabulary they have developed over the years. To accomplish this musicians need to surround themselves with other musicians that have different and similar backgrounds. It becomes difficult to compose in a vacuum.
I realize I’m limited by what I know. I need to collaborate with others who are on the same page and who can help aid me with the knowledge I don’t possess (other grooves and ideas I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise). Have you ever noticed that even when different groups rehearse the same arrangements written out verbatim, it sounds different? Every one has a different conception of time, groove and personal taste in regards to harmonic, melodic and rhythm content. Ultimately, this is why I Iove music. I can never get bored with all the possibilities. If I do, it just means I need to expand my knowledge and listen to different groups.
Today no one has an excuse to expand their exposure to music and creativity. Technology has made it very easy to expand our musical minds (Spotify, Pandora, YouTube). Many self-publish now and the local library can equip one with all the information music students would need. The key of course is to know how to learn and mold concepts to fit your individuality.
While working, musicians should not feel obligated to write and play a certain way just because it is what people expect to hear. Yes, a lot of the same sounds and aimless music travels the airwaves, however the power is so much greater to block it out today. I usually don’t know who tops the charts. I also usually need someone else to tell me who some of these stars are today. Unfortunately the industry has too much control over some of these artists that I don’t think we can really hear their best material.
Maybe all will change in 10 years, but until then I feel that musicians should stick to their aesthetics and use their creativity to release interesting material that is worth listening to.