Can a musician find fulfillment in the disparate approaches of jazz and the European classics, genres that are veritable armed camps of mutual resistance? Flutist Paula Hatcher responds with a resounding affirmative.
"In studying various modes of improvisation," she explains. "I found that the mental process of making a musical theme and working with ideas were--when a jazz performer was really on that night--very similar in structure to a classical piece. In fact, to become a master during the Baroque period one had to do all these things on the spot--make up a three- or four-part fugue, for example, with no music."
Hatcher began studying classical flute when she was 11 and started applying her skills to jazz at 15. She has a master's degree from Peabody Conservatory, has recorded with jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd and given workshops at universities in 40 states. Her jazz quartet will be at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis Wednesday through Sunday this week. With Charles Covington at the piano, Mark Bradshaw on bass and drummer Willie Barber, the nightly program will include originals and standards "that are highly melodic with a kind of ahead-of-the-beat jump." On the final evening Bill Biesecker will join in on guitar.
If Hatcher sees minimal conceptual differences between the improvised and composed idioms, she did run up against some mechanical problems. "I now have two flutes," she says, "and one is primarily a jazz flute. I had to find an instrument that I could really puff into to create back pressure because without that you don't get the bebop lines. I began looking at my flute that I was using for both jazz and classical and realized that it was going too fast, that I wasn't getting enough resistance." --W. Royal Stokes