“I wish I had this book twenty-five years ago! A hyper-insightful and thoughtfully organized book that also happens to be thoroughly entertaining, A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation is an essential read for anyone interested in the complex yet accessible world of musical improvisation.”
—Glenn Kotche, drummer and composer, Wilco
In the first book of its kind, John Corbett’s A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation provides a how-to manual for the most extreme example of spontaneous improvising: music with no pre-planned material at all. Drawing on over three decades of writing about, presenting, playing, teaching, and studying freely improvised music, Corbett offers an enriching set of tools that show any curious listener how to really listen, and he encourages them to enjoy the human impulse— found all around the world— to make up music on the spot. The result is a concise, humorous, and inspiring guide, a unique book that will help transform one of the world’s most notoriously unapproachable art forms into a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Saxophonist Nick Mazzarella will join John Corbett, playing in counterpoint to his reading.
John Corbett is a writer, producer, and curator based in Chicago who has written extensively on jazz and improvised music. A regular contributor to DownBeat magazine, he is the author of several books, including Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein and Microgroove: Forays Into Other Music.