Perpetual Frontier: The Properties Of Free Music
by Joe Morris

 An atlas of abstraction

A convert to free music after jazz’s straitjacket squeezed too tight, musician, improviser and composer Joe Morris here lays down a guide, as opposed to rulebook, for one of the most commonly misunderstood of musical practices. Building on foundations set by Derek Bailey’s Improvisation and Bruce Russell’s Left-Handed Blows, he offers a systematic breakdown of the field’s characteristic forms.

Seeking to inspire continual revolutions of musicians willing to take risks in avoiding new orthodoxies, there’s no doubting the author’s dedication. Whether he succeeds depends largely on whether his target audience will navigate their way through the decidedly solemn and maybe necessarily repetitious prose. While the inclusion of interviews with free music practitioners the likes of Mary Halvorson, William Parker, Matthew Shipp and Ken Vandermark provide variance in tone, Perpetual Frontier can at times be a struggle. There is, however, no denying the importance of this tome in nurturing an oft-ignored facet of sound-making. Let’s hope it encourages many down the pathways of creativity.  

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

(Import) Riti | ISBN 9780985981006, 180 pages

Reviewed by Spencer Grady
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