Earle Brown | Available Recollections: Jazz

Earle had it down. Like all great composers who develop a style all their own, Earle refined and honed his craft and sound throughout his career. I remember him mentioning to me that he was trying to compose in a way as freely, spontaneously and quickly as if he were playing the part live.

Earle played trumpet in jazz bands in his youth. It was as if he were creating an ‘improvisation-in-writing’ in real time. He knew his harmonic and melodic vocabulary inside out and attempted now to write ‘freely’ in the same amount of time that it would take to play the line. Certainly, MIDI and keyboards today are commonplace for such procedures, but Earle heard it and could get it down as quickly as Pablo Picasso could sketch a figure. He was an artist.

PIcasso drawing with light


Originally published in: “Earle Brown: From Motets to Mathematics” Contemporary Music Review, Volume 26, Issue 3 & 4 June 2007 , pages 371 – 375


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