Odd-meter improvisation

Trumpeter David Cooper’s blog is really great. Even I, a lowly saxophonist, have enjoyed browsing his musings about trumpet and music. He recently wrote an article about how to approach odd-meter tunes. Since he played on my CD Carswell, he was kind enough to include some propers about that. You can read it here: http://www.allthingstrumpet.com/learning/technique/odd-meter-improv/.

I feel compelled to defend myself and this whole odd-meter “trend” in jazz. I’ve heard a lot of older cats, especially teachers, complaining that today’s students only want to play in odd meters. Basically, they’re saying that the young players aren’t interested in swinging or paying their dues.

I can respect that point of view. We all need to study the tradition. I certainly spent a long time living within the foundations of music by Bird, Diz, Monk, J.J., Sonny, Coltrane, etc.

For me, Carswell and other tunes on that recording are all about “escaping the bonds of Bebop” – specifically, trying to move beyond the musical language from that time.

When I got the gig with J.J. I quickly discovered that no matter how much I might study the Bebop tradition I would never play with the depth that people from that era do. That music evolved within their experience. We, as improvising musicians, must find the music of our time. For me, that’s what this is about.

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