I am very excited to be curating the 2nd FreeSessions on January 7th and particularly excited to perform my music with Christopher Gray (guitar), Steve Kalling (bass) and Naomi Siegel (trombone and keyboard). These individuals have been extremely open to exploring new territories with these compositions and I want to thank them right off the bat for their flexibility and trust in me leading this ensemble. They’ve been such a pleasure to create with.
We will be performing 3 pieces for you tonight titled Segmented, Sehnsucht and Where is Solitude. Two of these compositions were performed 3 and 5 years ago as part of The Racer Sessions and the IMP Fest in Seattle under different instrumentation. I have wanted to revisit these compositions with new musicians and in a completely new setting to see how I hear and approach things differently. A lot has happened for me since I first wrote these…most recently becoming a father, moving to Missoula, taking on a very new identity as a stay at home dad for my daughter and spending a lot more focused time on the trumpet than I have in many years.
What we will be playing for you is based heavily around open improvisation. However, each piece has a defined melody with corresponding chord changes which will set up the flavor for the improvisations that follow the melody. A very similar progression as performing jazz standards…melody, solos, and playing through the melody again to end the piece. However, we may or may not stick to the structure introduced with the melody. This is a very exciting aspect of performing these pieces as each time is a different experience.
Every individual in this group has the equal amount of power to introduce a framework or deviate from a previously introduced framework during the improvisation sections. A specific instrument, such as the bass, does not need to just act like a “bass”…think of whatever that may mean to you! Everyone’s role in the performance is of equal importance and purpose, which is to create original music where everyone’s voice and ideas are heard.
An exciting thing about this ensemble is that every player has some unique musical niche where they spend the majority of their time performing or practicing. So when we open up and get free, it’s amazing to hear the blend of influences weave together. We all have our unique influences and sound. It has been a hope of mine that those influences can be embraced and amplified in this ensemble. I hope you can pick up on that when we perform.
For the improvisation section that follows, I would like to encourage every ensemble to conference briefly before performing to establish a place to start and finish. This can be as abstract as a word, feeling, color, number, etc or as specific as a defined key, scale, rhythmic figure, etc. Wherever you begin your performance, try to revisit that idea through all instruments represented while improvising. Come back to the original idea to play it verbatim, chop the heck out of it or expand upon it. And resist the urge to only have melodic instruments or voices take the melody.
Thanks for reading. We’ll look forward to seeing you Sunday January 7th at 6pm.