There are so many approaches to musical freedom. Some free music is very noisy and cacophonous. I have a marvelous drummer friend who was once told that he “wasn’t playing free enough.” From the context he took that mean that it wasn’t noisy enough. Many music lovers are scared of the noise in free music. Freedom doesn’t have to be noisy, but noise is usually at least one component of the gumbo that makes up good free music.
The free music that usually moves me is the music that keeps everything on the table all the time. Noise, swing, bebop lines, funk grooves, pretty chorales, and pointilistic squeeks and squonks are all available if not all employed. Musical freedom is not complete freedom if any sound is disallowed by stylistic convention or performer’s preconception. In the same way that political freedom is incomplete if the voter’s only choices are democrats or republicans. The green party, libertarians, communists, and the local nut that wants to be on the city council, along with any one else who wishes, must be on the ballot for the voters to have real freedom of choice.
I just picked up a CD called Several Lights by Chicago Luzern Exchange, which is a group made up of Chicago based cornetist Josh Berman, saxophonist Keefe Jackson, drummer Frank Rosaly and Luzern based tubist Marc Unternährer. There are 19 tracks on the CD, several under 3 minutes. It is noisy in spots, but more often it is subtly melodic. It is sonically dense in places, and quite sparse in others. It is the kind of free that I find rewarding as a listener. Check it out, it is a Delmark release.