Komposit, a group based in the East Midlands, is an educational venture founded by folk musician Jo Freya. It creates opportunities for younger musicians in the area (age 15-21) to work across the boundaries of folk, jazz and contemporary classical music. Thus it was that when I stepped into the bar of Derby’s Guildhall Theatre, I was surprised by a nifty little trio (music by Devon Evison) of viola, accordion and electric guitar with distortion pedal. Maybe it’ll catch on, like the string quartet did in the 1780s.
The group works on the boundaries of notation. Some performers play totally by ear and memory, some use tablature-type memorandums, others would prefer to see at least some notes on staves. It seems to me that working this way presents the biggest challenge to creators who usually notate all their music; of course I’m one of them. The process throws particular emphasis on memorising, and always reminds me how for classical composers, notation has largely taken the place of memory. It’s also fascinating to experience the forensic (though friendly) detail with which these sessions are conducted, as on this occasion by trombonist Annie Whitehead. Anyone who thinks jazz and folk musicians “just improvise” would be surprised by the content of these very detailed and extended sessions. Komposit will be in Nottingham on 29 April to unveil the results of the latest project (Djanogly Recital Hall at 7pm.)
Pictured – many thanks to Komposit guitarist Mary Garner for a most helpful tutorial, including a tour of some of her many pedals. And that’s quite a carpet beneath, isn’t it ?