When discussing improvisation and freedom one argument that is frequently made is that people like Ornette Coleman and Derek Bailey are not as free as they argue. The proof is that they show such clear identity. Because they are so easily identified from their style and sound they cannot be free it is argued. I don’t understand this point. Why is freedom and identity in opposition? What, in the concept of freedom, says that it implies novelty and originality?

I suppose that one reason for this argument can be traced back to Freudian theory and the concept of the super ego that controls the free flows of creativity. But this would suggest that identity is a social construct that dissolves in the subconscious, that is only manifested in the super ego. First of all, I’m not sure that the difference between super ego and sub consciousness is so clear cut. Secondly, I hate to think that identity and personality is not part of the sub conscious self.

If it is, freedom, as in free from conventions, is the only way to expressing identity, personality and originality (assuming that all individuals are also original) regardless of whether this expression changes over time or remains the same.

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