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Chapter 10
I’m trying to create a sense of stillness, or a frozen moment. [...] It’s like
when you look at the river, and if you just look at it as a whole then you see
a river, but if you focus in on one section then you see all these little ripples
and all these... things acting independently. [Or] if you look at a Rothko
picture... if you step back it’s one colour, but if you come up close then you
see all these little details in it.
6. Art and Entertainment
A further expectation to be readjusted from more everyday listening practices is that
of (necessarily) being entertained by a concert or performance, and, from this point of
view, many musicians were quick to berate audiences who weren’t ‘open’ and didn’t
know ‘how to listen’,22 one musician describing how:
I remember in Ausland... there were two women there, they were talking
while we played... obviously discussing the whole time how bad this is. So
they didn’t allow themselves to let go for a second and let go, and to say,
“OK, I know this won’t last any longer than 25 minutes so maybe I give it
a try.” [...] When they go to the museum they don’t expect every piece of
art to be for them! But when they go to a concert they just want to be
Chris Heenan despaired at those who went to concerts expecting “immediate
‘diddley-diddley’ coming out”, adding that:
You don’t expect that from a novel. You don’t expect that from other forms
- why does that happen in music?
And Mike Majkowski commented that is wasn’t his intention to make music for
“accompanying their day” - instead, and as a direct extension of the establishment
of jazz and Improvised Music as a ‘serious’ art-form, demanding the audience’s full
concentration and active listening (whether in an ‘emic’ or ‘open’ sense).
The majority of musicians refused to play in venues where the public talked, instead,
expecting their audiences to sit in silence and make the effort to apply themselves fully
to the music, and this outwardly passive, yet internally/intellectually active form of
Or, in other words, didn’t have the specific cultural competences discussed in this chapter.
Klaus Kürvers remembered back to the beginnings of Improvised Music in the 1960s, and, making
a parallel to the evolution of Western art music during the 19th Century, told me that, “The audience
needed time to understand that. At the beginning, people were used to standing at the bar and
then talking louder when the music started. People were only used to hearing this kind of music as
background music. [...] New places had to be found for this new music that was so demanding that you
had to listen to it. Before [the early 60s] there were only dedicated jazz clubs in Paris [and] Heidelberg...
but from the early 60s onwards there were organisations (Initiativen) of jazz fans, where they also
played records to each other, and who started clubs in cellars and so on, not for dancing, and where the
band played to the audience from a stage.” See also p. 24.