Chuck Israels, bajista de Bill Evans en la década de los 60, tiene una reflexiones muy interesantes sobre el rol que juega la imitación como fundamento de la improvisación, conceptos estos que a primera vista podrían ser interpretados como mútuamente excluyentes.
An unpopular Perspective on jazz Education
This acquisition of personal prototypes is an essential first step in the learning process. Without it, there is no foundation on which to build technique. A student can only be helped to learn to emulate an art for which the student has a clearly held image. Attempts to assimilate a more abstract process of technical practice without a sufficiently ingrained model are likely to prove frustrating, if not futile. Imitation is primary. The more highly developed the model and the more exact the imitation, the more successful will be the results.
Excessive reverence for the romantic illusion of “original thought” is the most fraudulent and destructive element in the institutionalized process of jazz education. Students are encouraged, sometimes even forced to engage in a frenzied “real time” search for “what to play”, resulting in frustration for the student and the audience. The usual result is awful gibberish which ought to be embarrassing to all parties but which seems to be not only condoned but encouraged by those jazz educators who misunderstand the process of improvisation.
It is not only unimportant that the selection of notes and patterns in a given “improvised” solo passage be “new”, it borders on the impossible. What is essential is that in the performance of controlled and familiar passages, an emotional process of rediscovery of the beauty and excitement inherent in the performer’s experience of that music communicates itself to the audience, imbuing the music with those spontaneous elements of expression that give it its life and breath. This vitality bears no relation to the frantic groping that passes for most beginning jazz solos, which communicate only the sense that the performer is careening out of control. Being on the edge is exciting only when one rarely goes over it.
Brad Melhdau ha escrito algo parecido al respecto: Jazz's High Stakes and Tragic Failures
Yo también he escrito sobre ello en este blog: Una reflexión sobre el vocabulario musical