Djazz (or digital jazz) is a musical project based on the Djazz software which allows the computer to generate improvisations based on recorded music sequences. It can play with a group of real musicians by adapting the sequences played by the computer to the tempo of the human performers. It can also generate sequences following a given chord progression. Djazz can improvise on any tunes or “standards” following a data base of transcriptions of great jazz solos (we are mainly working with transcriptions of keyboard solos played by the great masters of the Hammond organ such as Jimmy Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Shirley Scott, Jimmy McGriff, but it could also include solos by Parker, Coltrane, Miles Davis and so on). It can also play with the solos of live musicians interacting directly with the computer by recombining the sequences which are played by the performers and recorded on the fly by the computer (see figure below).
The Djazz software is based on research works conducted in collaboration by great musicians such as Bernard Lubat and CK Zana-Rotsy, and two scientific laboratories IRCAM and CAMS (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences). It is a variant of the ImproteK software developed by Marc Chemillier and Jérôme Nika which itself derived from the OMax software created at IRCAM by Marc Chemillier, Gérard Assayag and Georges Bloch (aka “The OMax Brothers”). The specificity of Djazz lies in the fact that it can generate music in the context of idiomatic improvisation. This means that the computer is supposed to be able to play in the social circumstances in which idiomatic improvisation is usually played, for instance jam session in the case of jazz musicians and even rituals in the case of traditional musicians. Furthermore, the musical outputs of the computer must be acceptable according to the cultural standards of these particular contexts.
The Djazz project is devoted to the conception of an augmented musical show in which live musicians are interacting with the computer listening to its partners. Both autonomous and controlled by a human hand, the Djazz software is intended to interact with real musicians so that every musician may participate to a conversation with the computer in an innovative approach that brings new potentialities to the conception of musical performances. Thus Djazz adresses the issue of relations between humans and machines in the context of live performances and their various aspects such as the embodiment of music.
* The Djazz software works with a data base of great jazz solos (by masters of the Hammond organ
but it could be by any great jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane…) in order to creat new improvisations.
Djazz can also record improvisations played by live musicians and generate new improvisations
by recombining the sequences that have been recorded on the fly.