Improvised music is made for listening

The Seattle Improvised Music Festival is previewed.

Starting tonight and continuing for two consecutive weekends, the Seattle Improvised Music Festival will feature a dozen musicians in various combinations, performing one of the most- difficult-to describe forms of modern music. There are several saxophone players (Wilson Shook, Wally Shoup, Kelvin Pittman), keyboard players (Gust Burns and Jonathan Zorn — not to be confused with avant-garde composer John Zorn), a trumpet player (Greg Kelley), even a singer (Liz Tonne) — many of whom perform with sophisticated, electronic effects.

“I see it as a tangled core of different strands of music that developed out of jazz and free jazz in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Burns, director of the festival, whose history goes back 24 years.

“It’s also heavily experimental, electronic music that has nothing to do with jazz. It doesn’t have swing; it doesn’t have a groove. Then, there’s a post-rock, post- Sonic Youth spirit, noise music. It’s kind of a tangled mess that has an improvisational and experimental core.”

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