Mitchell’s Blog Post:
I moved to Missoula last August to study and teach music. Until this point in my life, I had never lived more than an hour’s drive from my childhood home in central New Hampshire. In the absence of the familiar, I became confronted with many unexpected obstacles. The need for honest expression, community, support, and understanding significantly overshadowed much of my need to study and improve at my craft. In response to this imbalance, I found that the act of creating melodies on the piano, an instrument that I held little to no expectation of my technical ability on, was a kind of therapeutic exercise.
As I did this over time, I began to accumulate the string of melodies and textures that we will be presenting tonight. When applied to quintet I intentionally made key landing points clear but left a lot of ambiguity in how the group arrives at each new groove, melody or texture. This creates a deeply open experience where time, harmony, and texture must be thought of as elastic and shared. The human connection and trust that I have felt though the performance of this music has been exceptionally cathartic.
The amazing drummer/musician/person Matt Wilson performed in Missoula a few weeks ago. During his time here, he brought up the idea that while creating no expectations = no failures. So often I see highly capable people who are dying to create but are paralyzed by the idea of taking an embarrassing or incorrect first step. My hope is that this piece can help show that in any creative/improvisational/life endeavor, steps can just be steps.
Though I don’t have any specific parameters for how we will create in the following session, I would like to challenge you all to examine what expectations, titles, and identities you hold for your own creation. Do not necessarily reject them, but question them, attempt to find what is driving these associations and weigh out whether it is helpful to you or not. I have found the Free Sessions immensely helpful to this process, so if you are in the room, I guarantee that you’re already on the right track.
The Quintet will be:
Ross Strausser: Saxophone
Connor Rocicot: Piano
Kyler Rebich: Bass
Willie Baltz: Percussion