In a recent interview, Bill the Drummer references Dixieland music as a model for the band’s hard to pin down style. More than other forms, including subsequent jazz varieties, this early Americana is defined by its intimate ensemble of simultaneously improvising soloists, where individual freedom and imagination blend harmoniously around a unifying motif.
The idea of harmony – derived from the Greek harmonia, meaning “joint, agreement, concord,” from the verb harmozō, “fit together, join” [Wikipedia] – has come to be associated with themes of group or individual unity, not necessarily in music, but with music as a root or guiding model.
If, in a sense, we’re all musicians, then the scales and sounds we’ve practiced and performed, alone or in ensembles, have now to be relearned. The novelty and strangeness of the melody we’re hearing is a simultaneously improvised form in which we’re playing our part with minimal direction. Harmony will ensue, it has to, even if a new music underlies its style and combinations. It isn’t inconceivable that we’re already there.