One of the most interesting book I have read this year, this work written by Joe Morris, American guitarist, bassist, composer and improviser, entirely dedicated to Free Music, musical niche mostly based in New York that integrates elements drawn from contemporary music, free jazz, free improvisation and the ethnic music.
If I shall make a comparison, this book can stand comfortably alongside the volumes of the Arcana series published by John Zorn and the fundamental Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music by Derek Bailey.
The aim of the book is to formulate a precise analysis of the improvisational and compositional characteristics that unite the community of musicians who for many years devoted himself with assiduity and commitment to Free Music. It 'strange that, as for the book by Bailey and those published by John Zorn, are the same musicians to engage in this difficult task. Why is this worth mentioning? I agree that this kind of music does not enjoy much popularity nor that it is particularly easy to describe and interpret, even technically, but I find that this is a further evidence of a serious failure on the part of music journalism, this deficiency forces musicians themselves to improvise themselves (excuse the pun) their own journalists and whistleblowers of their audience and music.
And I must also say that they succeed remarkably well: Perpetual Frontier is great book and has the great advantage of not only give technical information about the characteristics that affect improvisation and composition, but also give you a historical perspective on the state of 'art Free Music, quoting and explaining correctly even different "music sources" (Unit Structures, Harmolodics, Tri-Axiom Theory and European Free Improvisation) from which the Free Music draws and adding to it all with 15 interviews with musicians directly involved and connected with this kind of music.
Please note this is not a strictly technical book in the sense that there are no specific recommendations within or technical methodologies from having to follow in order to play Free Music, but rather a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the same Free Music and philosophies that unite the community of musicians that moves in this field of music. In this sense, I find it is really a great job, challenging and brave at the same time, a book that not only confirms, if ever it were needed, the skills and the musical stature of Morris, but also his complex and analytical skills and musical thought. But we know … Joe Morris is a guitar player...