ImprovFriday 5-22-09

TwoJackLakeWhat’s new?  Well, there’s still a bear (as far as I know) roaming around my neighborhood.  And no, I don’t live in Alaska.  Oh yeah, I shouldn’t forget to mention that the Folk Life Festival is going on this weekend.

Yesterday’s improvisation session was strange as it started off slow and gradually built up some steam.  Deep seemed to be the tone of the event; perhaps it had something to do with the  Miles Davis quote which kicked off the day:  “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”

David Toub was first with his very fine improvisation set to a church organ synth, Piece #1 for Electronic Organ.  It’s great when David participates, because he’s the only composer thus far who bangs out sweet postminimal improvisations.  Jeff Harrington followed up with “NoiseFunk.” Jeff described it as “an improvisation with noise, in the manner of the Miles jams of the 70’s over a rock steady bass,” and I absolutely concur.  Charles Turner was too busy this week to improvise, however still showed up and gave us the gem of a work,Andantino for Handbells.”   Charles described the work as, “based on Stravinsky.” A slightly vague description, but now you can’t help yourself, you have to listen to the work out of curiosity.  Its worth it.  James Ross delivered “Raga Paranoia.”  James described the work as “Raga is waiting for the choppers to land, cops to crash in the window, landlord to knock.  Drones, slide guitar, helicopter.”  The work stirs the senses.  Paul Hertz supplied the deepest of all improvisations last night with “Improv 12:11 for Rodgers T957 Organ.” I just realized last night that Paul is improvising on a real church organ.  On Twitter, he mentioned he was going off to church to record the improvisation.  Kudos to Paul, because that organ rocks!  As Paul mentioned, there are a few scratchy areas at the beginning from touching the audiocable, but the rest is astounding.

Last, but not least, there was my 50 minute live improvisation session on Ustream. It was a reverse of my last improvisation session, as this time I start with piano, move to electronic, and then finish off with piano.  I was a little disappointed with my drum selection in the electronic part.  The next outing I hope to have a more fitting beat to accompany the synth and arturia Moog modular. 

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