Beyond Theory

The Beyond Theory gallery includes what I call ‘far out’ music. When jazz performers have mastered the theory – whether they study formally or by themselves – they are free to soar. S-o-a-r. That is why Charlie Parker was nicknamed Bird. In this gallery you will hear the musicians leave the melodies behind in one case, and improvise on the spot in the second and third examples. Gunther Schuller, a jazz and classical composer coined the term Third Stream Music – the fourth example is an orchestral piece with improvisors Jim Hall and Ornette Coleman – pretty far out.

Bill Frissell was Jim’s student once, and is consistently growing. After a 50-second credits intro, you will see them interact in Tuscany at an outdoor concert. In the second example you will see Jim with Brian Camelio live in Tokyo. And in the last example (audio only) Jim and Gil Goldstein illustrate spontaneously reacting to each other. Isn’t this what we do in an analytic session?

Jim enjoyed playing what he called Free Pieces. Completely on the spot thoughts often leave listeners wondering. But, wondering is what we all do – especially in psychoanalytic work – because we never really know the full answers to anything.

Because of its improvisatory nature, jazz music is ever changing and growing. Always new and never static. I suggest that each psychoanalysis creates something new and that psychoanalytic training needs revision to accommodate that idea. Both its stress on theory, much of which is outdated, and its vision of technique need major revamping and change. It is the method of listening and not the theory that demands the spotlight in our ongoing education.

Dialogues cover

⇐Return to the Jazz gallery

2 thoughts on “Beyond Theory

  1. Alison O'Carroll

    Dear Jane,
    Yes, the parallel between free-jazz and practice of psychoanalysis is close (at least as I understand them). I have followed Bill Frisell for years. When I first encountered Jeff Eaton a year ago, my mind went to Bill Frisell. They seems very similar to me… in that their work (whether music or words) is lucid and has a quality of spaciousness to it. Interestingly to me, they both live in Seattle… a very natural, spacious environment as far as cities go.
    There is a post of Bill Frisell on YouTube where he is playing free-jazz (at Elvis’s house). Before he begins he is interviewed and he makes the comment that he (and the drummer) don’t know what they’re going to play yet. He says so with a playful and excited smile. Bion is recorded as saying almost exactly the same words before a seminar. A student reportedly said to Bion beforehand that he was very much looking forward to the lecture. Bion apparently replied something like “yes, I can hardly wait to hear what I have to say”.
    I love your jazz/psychoanalysis exhibition. Thanks again!
    Alison O’Carroll

  2. jane hall

    Dear Alison,
    I am so glad that you enjoyed the exhibit. Bill Frisell is a good friend. Seeing and hearing them interact was a real highlight for me. They were sympatico to each other and that is the joy of jazz music. I’m glad you mentioned Bion because true connection between these musicians is free of cliches – which I believe Bion would applaud.
    Thank you for your note.


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