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The Jazz Composer: Moving Music Off the Paper by Graham Collier

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Bassist/educator/composer/ Collier often states that his mantra is “Jazz happens in real time ,once” and that this represents a challenge for the jazz composer since the composition is but the basis for the performance; what the musicians bring to it is what ultimately determines artistic success. He correctly states that the book emphasizes larger ensembles, and he provides an interesting survey of jazz composition for them with a good deal of emphasis on Duke, Mingus, and Gil Evans.

Collier’s writing style is brisk and entertaining, partially because of his willingness to digress from the subject. This spices the book up, but too often at the expense of the subject.

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