The Instant Composers Pool and Improvisation Beyond Jazz contributes to the expansion and diversification of our understanding of the jazz tradition by describing the history and practice of one of the most important non-American jazz groups: The Instant Composers Pool, founded in Amsterdam in 1967.
The Instant Composers Pool describes the meaning of "instant composition" from both a historical and ethnographic perspective. Historically, it details instant composition’s emergence from the encounter between various overlapping transnational avant-gardes, including free jazz, serialism, experimental music, electronic music, and Fluxus. The author shows how the improvising musicians not only engaged with the cultural politics of ethnicity and race involved in the negotiation of the boundaries of jazz as a cultural practice, but transformed the meaning of music in society—particularly the nature of improvisation and performance. Ethnographically, The Instant Composers Pool encourages readers to reconsider the conceptual tools we use to describe music performance, improvisation, and creativity. It takes the practice of "instant composition" as an opportunity to reflect on music performance as a social practice, which is crucial not only for jazz studies, but for general music scholarship.
Introduction / PART I: Beyond Jazz History / Chapter 1. Performance Art and Ludic Countercultures / Chapter 2. Genre Boundaries: The ICP and Jazz / Chapter 3. Political Activism in Contemporary Music / PART II: Beyond Jazz Practice / Chapter 4. The Ontology of Instant Composition / Chapter 5. Notation and Distributed Creativity / Chapter 6. Antagonism, Resistance, and Humour / Bibliography / Index
The field of New Jazz Studies has emerged out of traditional modes of musicological inquiry, with an increasing number of scholars examining jazz as a discursive cultural practice. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, New Jazz Studies has begun to promote a multiplicity of canons, exploring the overlapping and exchanges between different countries and cultural groups and challenging existing modes of understanding. Transnational Studies in Jazz presents cross-disciplinary and international perspectives on the relationship between jazz and its social, political, and cultural contexts.
While supporting ongoing research on American themes, artists and scenes, Transnational Studies in Jazz also seeks to develop understandings of jazz in different contexts, approaching the American influence - as well as the rejection of America - through analysis of international discourses and local scenes. Through US, UK and international contributors, jazz would be understood not only as a sonic form or subject of artistic expression and analysis but also as a key social and political agent in the development and exchange of culture.