By Eric Tifft
Last Sunday, Ohio Wesleyan faculty, students and the Delaware community were exposed to a unique form of music as part of the Performing Arts Series at Jemison Auditorium.
Peter Brötzmann and Jason Adasiewicz performed in a free jazz ensemble that left many concert goers a little perplexed at what they heard.
What appears to be a cacophony on the surface, free jazz pushes the boundaries of music interpretation.
With little or no melodic structure, free jazz is a difficult genre to define said Richard Edwards, assistant professor of music.
“Free jazz offers a different perspective of music,” Edwards said. “It is challenging to the idea of music. It shows that music isn’t always beautiful, it’s about expressing ideas.”
“Free jazz is all about broadening your horizons.”
Adasiewicz, a native of Chicago, tested the limits of the vibraphone by using multiple mallets in each hand, violin bows and even his fists in his dynamic performance.
Adasiewicz said he has always been involved with the music scene in Chicago, playing drums at a very early age.
“Chicago is definitely my biggest muse,” Adasiewicz said. “It is an outlet to experiment with music. Every night of the week you can hear different musicians perform their ideas.”
Brötzmann, originally from Koln, Germany, has played free jazz saxophone and clarinet all over the world for the past 40 years.
Brötzmann said he grew up playing music, but always wanted to be a painter. His musical inspirations come from all facets of his life.
“Sometimes I am inspired by a cigar,” Brötzmann said. “Other times it is a walk in the woods, or good company.”
Brötzmann heard Adasiewicz perform in Chicago two years ago.
“I didn’t care for the band (Adasiewicz) played in, but I could tell that he was a really talented musician,” Brötzmann said. “I then asked (Adasiewicz) to join me and he jumped on board.”
The performance surprised many students at OWU, who went into the concert with different expectations of the show.
Sophomore Connor Stout said he was very pleased with the performance.
He said he enjoyed how Brötzmann and Adasiewicz set out to expand the minds of audiences to new ideas about music.
“You can’t really go into an improvisational event with any expectations,” Stout said.
“You have to pay attention to the sounds instead of the music,” he said.
There isn’t a melodic structure. It is an improvised conversation between the two instruments.”
Senior Zeke Brechtel said he was surprised at how the musicians pushed the instruments to their limits, trying to draw unique sounds that we may not have heard otherwise.
“It was definitely a novel experience,” Brechtel said. “It was an interesting exposure to a world of performance that I wasn’t aware of.”
Others were not as accepting to call the performance music.
Senior Bret Irvine said the concert was very bizarre and the music was not pleasing.
“It didn’t really broaden my understanding of music because what I heard I wouldn’t consider music at all,” Irvine said.
“I would have just called it sound but it did expose me to a new kind of art work.”
Senior Josh Decker said he finds it very necessary to be educated about different genres, eras and cultures of music.
However, he said he does not agree that the free jazz performance was music that contributes to the art.
“This experience has broadened my musical sense, but did not contribute to my musical appreciation of the art form,” Decker said.
Edwards said the performance was made possible by the Conrad Kent Lecture Fund.
He said they chose Adasiewicz and Brötzmann because there was interest among the central Ohio jazz community and Adasiewicz and Brötzmann were passing through the Columbus area during their North American tour.
Efforts to contact Kent were unsuccessful.
The next Performing Arts Series event is The Cody River Show on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Chappelear Drama Center.