M.'s address to the troops, prior to basic training:


A Crash Course in the

PAPER BAG: Theory of

Controlled Chaos and Spontaneous Composing


Moving in a clockwise rotation, each musician becomes the composer/conductor of a 4 to 6 minute piece.

The conductor must be ready to express an idea or direction to the other musicians immediately upon his turn. Past examples include:

  • Like, water, man...
  • Evil, pounding 5/4!
  • Key of D, slow jazz.
  • You- drummer...play sumthin'.
  • I pass. Next, please.
  • Fast bebop, noise! Fast bebop, noise! Fast bebop, noise!

Indeed, the list is endless.

All eyes are now on the man conducting. Solos, changes in key, tempo or meter are in this person's hands. He is responsible for bringing the piece to a competent close.

As the next musician takes his turn on the rotation, an important rule must be kept in mind. His concept must be completely different, a total one-eighty from what came before it. This will create the preferred 'roller-coaster' effect throughout the set.



M. Segal , 8/99


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