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II-V-I and Finding a Groove: Ethics in the Improvised Relationship

Scott Herder

Published: 2010-08-24

This article examines the nature of the improvised relationship as including the potentiality for each of the individuals to find a 'groove' together, and/or discord, as part of a positive process. The dependence on repertoire and fundamental structures, as discussed in Robert Faulkner and Howard Becker's "Do You Know...?: The Jazz Repertoire in Action", and the aptitude for gaining a feeling or 'groove', as in Ingrid Monson's "Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction", both inform the sense of ethics in an improvised relationship. This article uses these sources to explore the way the ethics of an improvised relationship affect ideas of aesthetic virtue.

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Improvisation implies a deep connection between the personal and the communal, self and world. A “good” improviser successfully navigates musical and institutional boundaries and the desire for self-expression, pleasing not only herself but the listener as well.

– Rob Wallace