In his newsletter, Blowing My Own Horn, the pianist Hal Galper (Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, his own trio) writes,”In truth, I’m a free player in bebopper’s clothing.”
You might find my history of free playing illuminating. In my early Boston days (the 1960’s) I had the good fortune to apprentice with Sam Rivers for 6 years. At the time with Phil Morrison on bass and Tony Williams on drums, followed by my old partner in crime Steve Ellington. We were playing free inside the tunes trying to make them accessible to our audiences by hiding how free we were playing by keeping a groove while still trying to be melodic. (It was many years later that Tony brought the concept, and Sam, into Miles’s band [Davis - ed.]). Eventually we recorded a quartet album for Blue Note, A New Conception.