Overview of Paul Rinzler's Chapter 3: Interconnectedness
Overview of PAUL RINZLER’S The Contradictions of Jazz - Chapter 3
Ch. 3 – INTERCONNECTEDNESS
• INTERCONNECTEDNESS refers to mutual relations among people. Jazz group performance can be intimate and emotional so jazz strongly expresses the value of connecting with others (both musicians and audience). Rinzler focuses this chapter not on interpersonal relationships between performing musicians, but rather on musical interconnectedness, which makes an ensemble more than just a collection of individuals. Rhythmic musical interconnectedness: Often jazz musicians align their rhythms in relation to how the other musicians are aligning their rhythms in relation to an underlying pulse. “The resulting rhythmic consensus is interconnected, having been mutually and reciprocally negotiated.” (p. 28)
• THE GROOVE: is defined as “a regular and consistent articulation of rhythms in relation not only to an underlying background pulse, but in relation to how other musicians in the ensemble articulate their rhythms.” (p. 28) Audience members perceive the groove as “a type of forward momentum through which the music seems to flow effortlessly.” (p. 28) A groove can vary the rhythm by being slightly ahead of (“pushing ahead”), right on (“being on top”), or behind (“laying back”) a real or imagined background pulse. According to Rinzler, “the groove establishes the most basic type of rhythmic relationship. Most jazz musicians consider the groove to be fundamental to jazz.” (p. 28) One of the reasons that the groove is so fundamental to jazz playing is because the musicians “must be in accord as to how they relate to the beat and to each other rhythmically.” (p. 28) Grooves are determined by (A) Forming a consensus by playing together in the past or negotiating during actual performance. (B) Consistency of rhythmic performance is essential for coordination of band members. This rhythmic consistency can often be within hundredths of a second in accuracy. In a 45 minute set there may be as many as over 19,000 beats performed. The connections between musicians who establish a groove are often emotional and intense. It is a kind of “emotional empathy.” (p. 29)
• INTERACTION in jazz: “involves the spontaneous and improvised musical reactions of one musician to what another musician in the ensemble has performed.” (p. 30) There are a large number of possible ways in which different members of a group may interact with each other, even within just a quartet of four members. Rinzler calculates there are at least 46 combinations (see pp. 30-31).
• COMMUNITY: are relationships within a group of people. The Ensemble: Combo’s versus Big Bands.
A combo is typically three to six people, whereas a big band can have up to eighteen or more members. A composer determines little of the entire performance. This is not true in big bands where the composer and conductor control more of the performance. A combo is driven from the bottom up by the individual performers, whereas a big band is driven from the top down by the composer and conductor in a more authoritarian mode. (p. 33) The interconnectedness in a big band, “submits to the single authority of the composer and the interconnectedness is rigid, predetermined, and collectivistic.” (p. 33) In a combo, the interconnectedness is “flexible, spontaneous, and individualistic.” (p. 33) Standard jazz practice permits jazz musicians who have never played together to be able to “come together, and connect in musically intimate ways immediately, quickly, and deeply” as a result of jazz having a “common practice and an assumed base of knowledge, approach, and procedure.” (p. 34)