Each musical genre has certain rules and formulas, but at the same time, each leaves enough space to artists to spread out their imaginations and go outside the rules and formulas.
Of course, some genres leave more space for experimentation than others, and jazz is certainly among those. Some of the greatest jazz artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, or Ornette Colman were able to show their best, both by respecting the genre’s rules and formulas but also by stretching or completely neglecting any boundaries.
Phoenix, Arizona jazz composer Jeff Novotny is certainly going that more adventurous route with his JAZZPRJKT and his latest 15-minute single “Cygnus X-1.” Of course, he has his work cut out for him to reach close to the heights of the best, but this latest effort certainly deserves attention.
So what do we have here? Practically anything and everything. From jazz to rock (including its metal form) to EDM, ska world music and then back to jazz again. Something that late Frank Zappa, another genre-bending innovator would do.
Novotny himself says about it: “It started as a recomposition of RHCP’s ‘Breaking the Girl,’ though the only trace of this still extant is the guitar part over the pedal tone at the beginning. Some use is made of microtonality, especially in the synthesizer parts.
“The overall theme could be described as creepy radio transmissions (and other sounds) in space, so sound effects play a large role in the piece. Some of these sounds are actual radio transmissions; others were created from the ground up. The title refers to the name of the black hole thought to be at the center of the galaxy. Bet you can’t predict how it’s going to end!”
And frankly, you can have a hard time predicting what you’ll hear here without taking a listen.