When Q was played at the rehearsal and at the ensuing concert, the “almost groove/nearly time” was never there. Instead, the drums and the bass were playing an abstract texture where the small and nearly metronomically pulsating islands that I had envisioned did not show up. 

After the rehearsal and the concert performance of Q, I realized that bass and drums had replaced the “almost groove/nearly time” with a different rhythmic layer. A groove needs to have a rhythmic coordination among some of the instruments but the musicians’ co-created improvisation had moved them away from this coordination. Because it did work well in relation to separating the music into two spaces of sound, I chose to integrate the bassist’s and the drummer’s conception of this different rhythmic layer into the composition, QUA. 

Whether the musicians improvised an “almost groove/nearly time” or a more abstract texture did not make a crucial impact on my plan – as long as the alto saxophonist and the pianist were able to maintain the rubato-articulated melody with accompanying chords as sonically recognizable fragments. In the last part of the composition, I gradually dissolved the separation of the two duets in order to let all the musicians convene together and enjoy a final convergence. 

At the rehearsal, it was decided that two musicians would improvise in every one of the zones – but no one would know in advance who was going to play; the musicians decided this in the moment, at the instant when each zone of improvisation was activated. 

Because the improvising musicians’ co-creation supported my conception of a lullaby, I trusted that the right choice about who would play in the duets would be made when the musicians played. 

In the composition of URN, I integrated the improvising musicians’ idea of the improvisations in forms of duets, with unknown participants, and kept the recognizable melody with accompaniment.

At the rehearsal and the concert, the metronomic pulse of the bass/drum groove and the alto saxophone riff came to fluctuate. To my surprise, the music reflected precisely my conception of “almost groove/nearly time” – the idea I had for the composition Q. 

My main thought with S was to have the feeling of a metronomic pulse and the feeling of an abstract flow at one and the same time. This was the reason that I had assigned to the bassist, the drummer and the alto saxophonist the roles of keeping the metronomic pulse, while the role of the piano was to flow freely from this. 

However, at the rehearsal, and the concert, the roles changed: all the musicians now played alternately with and without any metronomic pulse underlying their play. The alto saxophonist was still being a bit enervating and insistent, while the pianist maintained a relaxed and cheerful distance to this pushiness. Because this co-creation worked so well, and because it matched what I wanted, I integrated this co-creation into the composition of SHY. The alto saxophone riff and the bass line were still recognizable, but now they were laid open to possible mutations. 

We discovered at the rehearsal for T that the piece worked particularly well when the alto saxophone played a solo improvisation just before the melody entered. Consequently, my original idea of a co-created introduction by the improvising musicians was scrapped.

After the melody appeared, everybody improvised freely, and eventually, altogether intuitively, we returned to the melody and then ended the composition. 

Seeing that this new form worked well, there was no point in holding onto my original plan concerning the form, and thus the idea that the improvising musicians would co-create an ending for the composition was also scrapped. I therefore used this new co-created form when I designed the graphic score of the composition, TIC. 

The most important aspect of my plan with this composition was not its form but rather having this sonically recognizable melody, which you would think you had already heard before. 

When V was played at the rehearsal, we realized that it felt unnatural to keep on improvising many sound activities while the volume diminished, and then to improvise few activities while the volume was supposed to crescendo. Here, finding some sense of meaning in our co-creating improvisations proved to be quite a challenge. 

So instead of aiming an individual-oriented focus on how one instrument could interpret the graphics, our reflections led to regarding all the sounds of the instruments as a whole – as a mass of activities – that could be loud as well as quiet, and could contain many or few activities. 

With this approach, creating V’s sonically recognizable dynamic suddenly became more meaningful to us. And I discovered a new way of co-creating with the musicians: by reflecting on our improvisations, we developed our musical expression. 

In the composition of VOW, I continued to explore my ideas of sonic recognizability and co-creation, but now I was doing so on the basis of a newly gained recognition. 

When R was played at the rehearsal and performed at the concert, there was no groove with a metronomic pulse. But, there was a lively un-metronomical feeling of an abstract groove. This feeling contrasted with the melodic lines in a way that made the music, as a whole, more interesting to me. 

My prior thoughts about the composition had not reflected the possible challenge posed by the static quality of the melodic lines. By “static quality”, I mean to indicate that it was my aim to compose melodic lines with a kind of inherent logic that would close in on itself. The challenge was that the static quality of the melodic lines could become too stressed, or underlined, if the melodic lines were played in rhythmic coordination with the groove. The risk was that both the groove and the melodic lines could lose their overall meaning in relation to the composition as a whole. A solution however turned up in the improvised co-creation contributed by the pianist, the bassist and the drummer. 

When I created the composition, RAW, I therefore replaced the metronomic grooving pulse with the feeling of an abstract groove. Concerning my original plan, I kept the lines of the melodic material intact, as sonically recognizable fragments. 

Excerpts from my concert with Dødens Garderobe in Jazzhouse Cph (YouTube video)LINK