The Book Cooks
Excerpts from
The Philosophy of Improvisation

by Gary Peters
(The University of Chicago Press; Chicago, London)


The chapter epigraph is from Smith, “Improvisation as a Form of Cultural Creation.”

1. Anthony Braxton, quoted in Dean, New Structures in Jazz and Improvised Music since 1960, 133.

2. See, for example, Monson, “Oh Freedom: George Russell, John Coltrane, and Modal Jazz,” which begins as follows: “Improvisation has often been taken as a metaphor for freedom both musical and social, especially in jazz. The image of improvisation as freedom became especially pronounced in the jazz world of the 1960s when the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, and others catalyzed aesthetic and political debates within the jazz community and music industry. The political contexts of the civil rights movement in the U.S. and the independence movements on the African continent surely informed the accelerated conflation of musical and political freedom” (149).

3. Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, 56.

4. Ibid., 16.

5. Ibid., 12.

6. Ibid., 16.

7. Dean, New Structures in Jazz and Improvised Music since 1960, 133.

8. Marcuse, Eros and Civilisation, 136.

9. Kant, Critique of Judgement, 58.

10. Quoted in Toop, Haunted Weather, 187.

11. Toop, “Communality or Virtual Sculpture.”

12. For an extended discussion of this, see my “Means without End.”

13. Bernstein, The Fate of Art, chap. 1.

14. Kant, Critique of Judgement, 27–28.

15. Ibid., 82–83.

16. Foster, “Taken by Surprise,” 7.

17. Bernstein, The Fate of Art, 60–61.

Berlin, Isaiah. Two Concepts of Liberty. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958.

Bernstein, J. M. The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida and Adorno. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992.

Dean, Roger T. New Structures in Jazz and Improvised Music since 1960.

Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1992.

Foster, Susan Leigh. “Taken by Surprise: Improvisation in Dance and Mind.” In Taken by Surprise: A Dance Improvisation Reader, edited by Ann Cooper Albright and David Gere. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2003.

Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgement. Translated by James Creed Meredith. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilisation. London: Sphere Books, 1969.

Monson, Ingrid. “Oh Freedom: George Russell, John Coltrane, and Modal Jazz.” In In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation, edited by Bruno Nettl and Melinda Russell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Toop, David. “Communality or Virtual Sculpture.” Paper presented at a conference on “The Place of Improvisation and the Improvisation of Place,” University of the West of England, July 2005. Haunted Weather: Music, Silence and Memory. London: Serpent’s Tail, 2004.

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