From 1969 Denley studied flute with Peter Richardson, at the Sydney Conservatorium, who introduced him to the works of Varese, Fukushima, Messiaen and Berio. He was listening to improvisers such as Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Dolphy, Braxton and Derek Bailey. David Ahern’s Sydney groups Teletopa and AZ Music were influential. In 1983 he studied in Tokyo with shakuhachi master Yamaguchi Goro. While there he played concerts with many improvising musicians. An emphasis on spontaneity, site-specific work and collaboration has been important. He sees no clear distinctions between his roles as instrumentalist, improviser and composer. He has written a chapter on improvisation for the book Experimental Music - audio explorations in Australia, published by UNSW Press, 08. r a d i o His interest in radio continued with many ABC features.
Warren Burt writes in Experimental Musical Instruments about his solo CD, Sonic Hieroglyphs,
...traversing as complete and encyclopedic a range of extended wind techniques as one could wish for, but here the techniques are used in the service of a poetic vision of landscape that both refers to the ongoing engagement with landscape that has been a constant feature of Australian art for about 20,000 years, and also deals with contemporary ideas of structure in a refreshing and original way.
“The festival opened with an undisputed master of Australian improvisation, Jim Denley. Starting with his bass flute in pieces, he gently ground the bits together, sometimes blowing into the mouthpiece
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