Brooklyn Jazz Underground

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a newly formed collective, is an association of independent bandleaders with a shared commitment to improvised music. Through cooperative effort, members of the BJU strive to create greater awareness of their work.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Anne Mette Iversen: Some philosophocal thoughts for the new year!

I was lucky to receive a grant to a free stay at an Art & Science Residence, the old convent, San Cataldo, located a few miles from Amalfi, in the mountains, on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The residency was for 4 weeks (month of November) and provided an outstanding chance of being semi-isolated and having every minute of the day free to compose; to study and write new music.

Apart from myself, 10 other people had received stays there; interesting, exiting and very nice people who work in various fields such as literature, history, art-history, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, writing (authors), business and law. We were all working on specific projects and enjoyed exchanging experiences and learning about each others fields.
In fact it was of equal inspiration to me; the beauty of the surroundings, the aesthetics, the landscape, the quite and undisturbed settings and our little community, i.e. to learn about subjects that does not have an immediate presence in my daily jazz-life.

In other words, it was a very stimulating experience to discover that my personal inspiration with regard to composing came from new and unexpected sources. That I can draw from a much broader spectrum of life when searching for inspiration. In many ways this makes my life feel richer. Does one really have to stay a "jazz-nerd" and fulfill a stereotype of what a jazz-musicians interests are, to be a great musician?
I don't think so.

Modern life is specialized, but it seems as if that time is over where you can do well by just being great at one specific thing. Throughout history there are numerous examples of great artists who have studied and build significant knowledge in fields that were not immidiate related to their art. Leonardo Da Vinci was one, and many of the ancient Greeks.
And I learned that many of my fellow residency-guests have an extremely wide and broad knowledge about many a subject, and that it only reinforces their expertise in their own field.

Why should we musicians not be able to do the same? It is only a matter of training and habits, - our brain has the capability.

It is my personal goal for 2007 to look closer towards other branches of interests, maybe particularly in the field of humanities, and then let us see if that will make the new year any different.

- Anne Mette


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