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Han Bennink - Solo Improvisation at Bishopsgate Institute, London


In connection with the development of free jazz there is one important phenomenon which arose inexorably from the stipulations of the new musical ideal, but which only at a later historical stage become conscious: the emancipation of European jazz musicians from their long-inaccessible American exemplars. The jazz researcher Ekkehard Jost cites two reasons for this. Firstly, the new musical ideal was not a style, with no precise sound structure or compositional standard but was rather a conglomeration of individual styles, expressing a latent 'resistance' rather than an open acceptance'. Without a binding standard though there can also be no examples, there is no-one who could or should be copied. The second reason has to do with the socio-historical situation, with America in the role of socio-cultural model, a role which began to disappear more and more after the Second World War and which by the time of the Vietnam war was demonstratively rejected. In many European groups the jazz idiom was temporarily completely dropped and free jazz made way for free music, with people reverting consciously to their own cultural tradition: music theatre, parody, music about music, reflection on and deformation of trivial music and likewise folk music.