A book project about improvisation, by Petter Frost Fadnes (Routledge, 2020)
"Jazz on the Line: Improvisation in Practice" presents an ethnographic reflection on improvisation as performance, examining how musicians think and act when negotiating improvisational frameworks. This multidisciplinary discussion – guided by a focus on recordings, composition, authenticity, and venues – explores the musical choices made by performers, emphasizing how these choices can be logically understood within the context of controlled, musical outputs.
This book-project was four years in the writing, and was published in May 2020. It grew out of the research groups Artistic Knowledge and Artistic Research at the Faculty of Performing Arts, as well as thirty years as a performer of improvised music.
Throughout the text, the Petter Frost Fadnes engages directly with musicians and their varied practices – from canonized dogmas to innovative experimentalism – offering interviews both planned and spontaneous. Musical agency is posited as a tightrope balancing act, signifying the skill and excitement of improvisational performativity and exemplifying the life of a jazzaerialist.
Several performance projects are directly tied to the topics within the book – e.g. The Geordie Approach and Kitchen Orchestra – in which Frost Fadnes draw on personal and collective experiences of planning, rehearsing, playing live, and recording, helping the reader and the listener to understand multiple, and varied, perspectives of improvisational practices.