One of the beautiful things about blogs is the ease with which you can shamelessly promote something. In this case it's a bit on the benign side since the performances have all past but here goes.
I have had a band called Tilt Brass (tiltbrass.org) which has been together for a few years now. We originally built the group with half being jazz musicians and the other half "legit" but with some background in improvisation. We tend toward process pieces in the vein of Rzewski, Wolff, Brown and the like in addition to some more straight ahead stuff but staying away from the Rebirth/Dirty Dozen thing. From the beginning we had members of the group interested in writing and arranging for the ensemble. We performed around town, out at Barbes, Bowery Poetry Club, Joe's Pub, etc.
It used to be thought that there was this great divide between the jazz and legit music worlds. It's not particularly true in all cases as evidenced by Tilt's ability to perform the music of Dave Ballou, Anthony Coleman, Nate Wooley, Curtis Hasselbring, Charles Waters, and Taylor Ho Bynum. Each of these charts came with its own unique set of circumstances to navigate. The collective amount of experience really made for the ease of producing this show.
Another big surprise for me was the level of quality that these pieces were written at. I as the conductor/traffic cop was feeling some pressure about how to manage a relatively short amount of rehearsal time into something productive for the digestion of all this new music. It could'nt have been simpler and here's why:
This approach to music with many different types of musicians finding common ground goes much further than any crossover label that could be applied to it. It also puts us in good post-modern company as we bash through some barriers that some still jealously guard.
Those who do things in a very particular way are play with forms that will always be cherished. The new way seems to be to mix things up and show off what you can do. I will always be psyched to here Dr. Michael White or the Guarneri show us how the classics are done but will also always be fantasizing about what Dr. White's turn-on-a-dime precise band would sound like playing something else.
So give me your distended/extended blues forms, 7/8 alternating with 9/16 passages in all their microtuned splendor as well as anything else you can think of. I welcome it.