Contemporary Jazz: Understanding Jazz Composers’ Current Reality


This is a qualitative study about the current reality of jazz musicians and composers; two
kinds of artists that are unified in the new standard of high-level technique and
academically trained jazz players with the need of extending the limits of the style. The
focus is on the contemporary jazz composers, from all over the world, that are enriching
and innovating the style, considering jazz as an adopted music of the local cultural life in
Europe and South America, as well as in the United States, where jazz has its origins.
The collected data – obtained by semi-structured interviews – has helped to analyse,
understand and consolidate a background for further and more specific research. The results
may be a subject of interest to educators, students, musicians, composers and researchers
that work in the field of jazz music style and jazz composition.

Keywords: contemporary jazz, composition, improvisation, performance, jazz composers,
jazz aesthetics, compositional process, jazz composition techniques

Article To be published by CESEM during 2021 - Academic article that will be included in a book titled “NCMM18 - Nova Contemporary Music Meeting - Composing Music Today”


The Contemporary Jazz Composer: The Importance of the Conception of the Source Material in the
Compositional Process

Masters’ degree in music report - Advisor: Ph. D. Ricardo Futre Pinheiro


This study is focused on the compositional process of current jazz composers, more specifically on the starting idea and the conception of the basic material for a new composition, or as Ed Neumeister named it when describing his compositional process, “the source material”. The aim of the exploratory study is to attempt to find an initial approach to a comprehensive way of understanding how jazz composers deal with the creative process in the first stage of composition. For this purpose, a qualitative research was performed interviewing 6 Portuguese jazz composers with a distinguished career. Taking the above into account, the ultimate objective of this project was to try to develop a variety of compositional methods that can help to deal with the creative aspects of the starting point of a new composition. The results allowed to design a map that can be applied as a composers’ guideline to approach the compositional process, at the same time as for the analysis of the creative process of the first stage of composing music. Finally, the above-mentioned map was used to analyze one original piece regarding the compositional process during the conception of the source material.


Keywords: Compositional Process, Contemporary Jazz Composition, Creativity, Improvisation



New Perspectives on The Electric Guitar in Contemporary Jazz: Artistic Research on The Development of Extended and Augmented Techniques and Their Articulation in The Compositional Process and Performance
PhD Proposal


This artistic research project aims to better understand the initial stage of the compositional process in contemporary jazz concerning the use of non-conventional electric guitar techniques. I will explore extended and augmented electric guitar techniques as the basic element in the process of generating source material in the context of contemporary jazz composition. Furthermore, I will analyse how the source material generated by these procedures articulates with different instrumental setups and how the developed techniques could be incorporated into a standard contemporary jazz performance situation.

The main research questions that will lead the investigation are: How do particular extended and augmented electric guitar techniques influence the development of the source material during the compositional process into the context of contemporary jazz? And, how the use of non-conventional electric guitar techniques could be incorporated in a contemporary jazz performance situation?

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