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Blank slates / free improv (was: The Artist's Right To Be Boring)

A funny thing about free-improv is that here in the San Francisco Bay
Area there's a lot of jazz-influence (especially European jazz) on
'new music' performances. So if you tell someone you're going to do
some free-improvisation, most folks assume you're going to play in a
very jazzlike form (and the instruments are usually stand-up bass,
drums, and sax/clarinet/trumpet/guitar).

So, folks who want to communicate that they're really doing free music
and not jazz have started adopting Derek Bailey's "Non-Idiomatic
Improvisation" term.

However N.I.I. has developed its own recognizeable musical traits as
well - mostly acoustic groups (perhaps with one token member playing
the further-unspecified "electronics") playing small, non-commital
sounds, and avoiding like the plague anything that may sound coherent.

I'm doubtful that there is or should be such a thing called "free
improvisation" or "non-idiomatic improvisation", so I guess there has
to be an understanding that performers are going to be pulled in
directions based on who they are, what they've heard, and the nature
of the instrument they happen to be holding. Personally I like to
think of the individual musicians I know as microgenres in themselves,
and the fun is learning what they're all about, and hearing how they
interact with other microgenres.