Free Jazz from the Sanctuary: Freedom Through Collective Improvisation

Join us at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy from April 1 - April 30 for the month-long gallery show "Freedom Through Collective Improvisation," featuring photos and videos from this series!  Click here for more  information.

Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown photoThis 13-part series of jazz performance videos features some of the world's most talented improvisers performing a wide spectrum of music in the genre broadly known as free jazz.  These uncompromising and inventive musicians create new languages and expressive forms, with an aesthetic and conceptuRas Moshe photoal edge that challenges listeners to look at the world anew.

Like freedom itself, free jazz as a term defies definition. The name most likely comes from Ornette Coleman's 1961 album Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. This music celebrates the individual voice and collective action—and, like anyone exploring the limits of freedom, the musicians who play it sometimes find themselves on the edge of what is commercially, culturally and politically acceptable. But they endure… and their quest continues!Fay Victor photo


These concerts were recorded live between 2007-2009 at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, a historic former church in North Troy.  Each show is available on DVD directly from Downtown Music Gallery or online here—just click the links below:


The featured musicians are:



Jessica Pavone and Mary Halvorson photoThis series is a co-production of NY Media Alliance and the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer.  The purpose: to create a cutting-edge, professional artistic media project to further a love and understanding for this brilliant, rarely heard music.


Taylor Ho Bynum photoNY Media Alliance, a 30 year-old non-profit advocate for the media arts, operates The Sanctuary for Independent MediaIt’s a place where politically engaged interdisciplinary artists experiment with aesthetic form and challenging content.  In this sanctuary, the overarching goal is to shed light on media arts’ vital role in the process of building a democratic society.


Weasel Walter photoThe Department of the Arts at Rensselaer is generally considered to be the first integrated electronic arts program within a research university in the U.S.,  dealing with innovative aesthetic, cultural, and technical explorations of experimental media and electronic arts.


Ravish Moman photoFree Jazz from the Sanctuary was made possible in part with support from the New York State Council on the Arts Presenting Program and the NYS Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors when investigations into the practice of “payola” or “pay for play” by major recording and broadcasting companies were resolved. These settlements stipulated that funds paid by the music businesses should benefit the residents of New York State through music education and appreciation programs.


Tatsuya NakataniThe Free Jazz from the Sanctuary series is available for worldwide non-commercial broadcast distribution.  Contact us for more information!


 Photos by Andrzej (Andre) Pilarczyk.