Abstract and Keywords
During the summer of 1997, Ornette Coleman, pianist Joachim Kühn, and philosopher Jacques Derrida performed together at the La Villette festival outside Paris. This chapter revisits this now famous event—one the philosopher reported to be a collaborative failure—and repurposes it into a philosophical inquiry by developing a question Derrida’s thinking poses to Ornette Coleman’s music: Is improvisation present? In search for an answer, the chapter places Derrida’s observations about improvisation in dialogue with a theory of improvisation forwarded by moral philosopher and amateur pianist, Vladimir Jankélévitch. It concludes by proposing a theory of improvisation centered on the playful exposure to the necessity of inscription, the instability and uncertainty of idiom, and a form of fidelity to the vanishing now.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.