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Recollections (on Tamburinen and Tangent)
 


 
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© 2005-2009 Interplay
 
"To understand the nature of these two series or programs, it may be helpful to stay with the structure, just for a moment, a little bit like we did with the situation with Jazz 61, 62, 63, etc.

We talked about the different styles of music that were being covered within the narrow field of the jazz music department itself. As we saw it, one of the ironies was that in the Danish Radio there was something called the "Music Department" and something called the "Entertainment Department". And all kinds of jazz music came under the heading of the Entertainment Departmment. Which increasingly after World War II seemed to create all kinds of problems, in the sense that the way jazz music was heading – and the understanding and analysis of it – seemed to make it more difficult for it to not belong in the music department. Also, Børge Roger, for one, had a kind of an affinity with the bosses at the music department. So that there was a constant tension between the jazz department and the entertainment department, in terms of belonging.

When Jazz 61 etc. became established, this kind of division became in some sense more and more criticial because many of the visiting jazz musicians showed a keen interest in relating to colleagues in the music department moreso than in the pop-oriented department, where we "belonged". And so if a Cecil Taylor was very interested in contemporary classical composers like Luigi Nono and Henri Pousseur, then it seemed that from the point of view of structrual limits, it wasn't so easy to just connect. Or if a Don Cherry wanted to play some music on our program with members of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, then it was a problem of where would the money come from, since both departments thought it belonged to the other department to set this up financially. That was the first problem.

The second problem was that with that kind of structure, all other kinds of music was sort of lost in the abyss between the two departments. Since in those years there was an upsurge in interest in classical Indian music, with jazz musicians learning and collaborating with Indian musicians, to name just one field, or in other circumstances also linking up with Moroccan musicians in the case of Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders, it seemed that there were not programs where this kind of thing could be easily heard or dealt with. So for us, Erik and I, seeing that situation, we proposed to work with Roger, as a trio of editors and to work in these two areas.

In the sense of Tangent, it was to establish that kind of cross-field relationships between in particular, I would say, the contemporary jazz players and their colleagues in the European and American classical avant-garde. So that some of the musics that were played at events like Fluxus, where we had heard Alan Gisberg play the harmonium and also using his poetry, all of that was sort of tangential to what we were trying to do at Jazz 61, 62, 63, etc., but still was maybe just a wee bit outside that path, if you will. So that if say we had a visit like we had with John Cage, we could easily have him on that program.

If we were looking towards what else was dealt with in the Entertainment Department but not in a so-called "serious" manner, they could play Rolling Stones music all day long but they wouldn't necessarily pick up the connection between the Stones and Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamsoon, the whole popular music field, also the connection. So then since we still had these structural problems, we felt some of those things were certainly not seen from a jazz perspective, how were these things that were slowly coming to the fore, how were they to be viewed in the context of jazz music. Since we already had this program that looked more toward the avant-garde of the classical, we thought we should have a program that looked more to the roots of the music, the blues, gospel, spiritual dimentions of other culture music. So that's how we got to Tamburinen, "the tambourine. So we felt that in some case our program of jazz music was situated bewteen these two, the tambourine and the tangents. So if we were exploring where an Albert Ayler's music had picked up folk songs from Northern Sweden, it could go that way, with this kind of program.

Regrettably, a lot of this material that would today be quite quite interesting – long interviews with John Cage; John Coltrane talking about his relationship with Ravi Shankar; Sonny Murrray talking at length of how he learned from all the past masters, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Joe Jones, Sidney Catlett – all of these tapes were dumped or destroyed without anyone asking Roger or ourselves whether they should be kept. In retrospect to us that seemed like a kind of a scandalous conduct."

T.U., Jan. 13, 2005



  • Recollections on Jazz 61, 62, 63 ...
  • More about these years in this article from Jazz Special.