TAO AND ZEN - AND ALL THAT JAZZ: TEACHING AS IMPROVISATION

J. Hanagan

Kansai Gaidai University, CIE (JAPAN)
This presentation comprises a talk and piano demonstration on the use of the jazz idiom to shed light on the tensions in every art--including the art of living--between structure and improvisation, technique and freedom, or in Zen terms, form and emptiness. Using standard Jazz classics, I will show the metric structure of a jazz tune, and how a jazz musician approaches a song in order to explore the many facets of improvisation: melody, harmony, and rhythm. I will then use verses from the Tao Te Ching and other Oriental classics to demonstrate the levels of artistic consciousness. During the presentation, I will play a series of songs to illustrate that structure and technique are not necessarily enemies of Beauty and Soul (although sometimes they can be), but that in its highest expression, jazz blends structure, technique and Aesthetic Wonder, performer and audience, into a unified field where nothing is left but the Music itself.