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Neil Welch Presents Sunday, April 4th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88447984950  Meeting ID: 884 4798 4950

/ / /

Neil’s Blog Post:

Racer heads, this afternoon I have four pieces I’d like to share with you, played on soprano, tenor and bass saxes. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had high hopes for myself to create a new composition that was truly my best work possible. I thought of this as the kind of piece I could write “if I only had the time.” Well, this grand new piece remains locked up tight inside me. My mind won’t go there, my hands won’t play it and the staff paper more often than not remains blank. What has come to fruition though was a slow but steady realization that with time now retooled, I can learn to cultivate patience with my music-making, spot periods of eagerness to create, trust those inclinations, and often some small solo saxophone offering will bubble up. These improvs have started to feel like little time capsules among the gravity of the COVID era. This Sunday, I’d like to share with you 4 such examples. These are all pieces recorded in the past week or two. They are my small offering in the warping of our space/time which is right here, right now.

Your daily friend,
-Neil Welch

Neil also has provided us with a prompt idea for the jam to follow:

For our jam to follow the opening set, please consider specific artistic areas that have helped to foster your creativity during this difficult period in our lives. What specific musical concepts, personal reflections, actions or artistic mindsets have helped you weather this storm? I would love it if a few volunteers could share something specific with us that might help inform the musical direction of a handful of group improvisations.

/ / /

Neil has chosen the North Helpline as this month’s beneficiary! Read more below and please donate if you are able:

The North Helpline is a social service center and food bank located in North Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood. The North Helpline “believes that all deserve adequate food, housing, and respect. We assist our neighbors in obtaining basic needs that affirm their human dignity and worth.”
https://www.northhelpline.org/get-involved/donate-money/

Following Neil’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise!

One tap mobile

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Dial by your location

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        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 884 4798 4950

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb5TYo3tHN

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Jenni Long and London Bauman Present Sunday, March 7th (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

On the first Sunday of every month from 6-7pm (MST), the Racer Sessions (Seattle) and the FreeSessions unite to host a collaborative session on Zoom! A new featured artist presents a short set to begin the session, followed by a free-improv-based jam session that is open to all. Each month’s opening performer will also choose a social justice organization or cause that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85752271101?pwd=UmxLNFZlcC83UDI1cmlYQ3p2ZVU4QT09
Meeting ID: 857 5227 1101
Passcode: 834146

This month Missoula to Portland transplant Jenni Long and Portland-based musician London Bauman will be curating. They have chosen to highlight the Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Collective as this month’s beneficiary: https://www.btfacollective.org

We encourage you to contribute if you are able!

Following Jenni and London’s set, the organizers will facilitate an open jam session until 6pm PST for anyone who would like to improvise solo or with others.

Jenni’s Blog Post:

Over the past few months London and I have been writing music together by bringing in our individual unfinished songs, which we had previously shown no one, and helping each other finish them. The resulting sound was some mixture of folk rock, lofi, and emo. I’ve noticed that just by playing and talking through a song with another person that they usually can see immediately where and how to fill in the gaps, and vice versa. What ended up happening was when we let go of a specific desired outcome, creating with another person became a pretty effortless process. In this session we invite the players to connect with the person they’re playing music with by focusing on what they’re bringing to the table, sonically and creatively.

 

One tap mobile
+12532158782,,85752271101#,,,,*834146# US (Tacoma)
+16699006833,,85752271101#,,,,*834146# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 857 5227 1101
Passcode: 834146
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcmsShKURs

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS RECOMMENDATIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet).

a. Use headphones when playing with other people.

b. Use external mic if available.

2) Preferences/Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”

b. Adjust Input Volume. You can click “Test Mic” to hear how it sounds.

c. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.’

d. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode.’

e. If you are using headphones, turn OFF: ‘Echo cancellation.’

f. If you are using a stereo capable microphone or audio interface, turn ON: ‘Stereo audio.’ Ethernet cable recommended when using this setting.

3) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn Off Original Sound.”

4) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi.

Emily Silks presents Sunday, November 1 (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2412259024

Check out suggested Zoom settings below for optimal participation.

Emily’s blog post:

As a fairly recent transplant from Missoula to Seattle, Racer Sessions and FreeSessions are close to home. I treasure how this project and the community embodies acceptance and exploration. Every session I attend leaves me renewed in my understanding of presence and the art of improvisation. 

I chose to highlight the NAACP this month because of their historic, longstanding dedication to securing equality and eliminating race-based discrimination. As one of the leading civil rights organizations, it is important to acknowledge not only the work the NAACP has already accomplished but also the ways in which we can now help with the work still left to do. Learn more at: https://www.naacp.org/take-action/

///

In this curation, I explore the dynamics between isolation and ensemble in an improvised piece for midi keyboard, electric guitar, and snare drum. 

During the last few weeks, I’ve archived my sonic environment during moments when I am alone  – studying for classes, reading, cooking breakfast, sitting outside my house with a morning cup of joe, responding to emails in my bedroom.

I use those recordings to layer, sample, remix, and improvise upon moments of isolation in order to create a collective ensemble.

It is my intention to speak not only to the efforts involved in maintaining joy while subsumed in months of isolation but also to the ways in which feeling alone is still a feeling full of life even while we are apart from others in time and space. 

I ask each group in the open jam session to also consider the intersection of isolation and ensemble as they improvise. 

///

Emily Silks (she/her) was born and raised in New Mexico and is now a Seattle based musician and a graduate student in the ethnomusicology department at the University of Washington. She earned her undergraduate degree in percussion performance from the University of Montana in 2018 and is recognized both as a Presser Foundation Scholar and a University Scholar.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: (These instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom as of 9/5/2020 — you may want to check that your software is up to date!)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Nick Dunston presents Sunday, October 4 (FreeSessions + Racer Sessions = Zoom Sessions)

The first Sunday of every month, FreeSessions will unite to host a free improv opening set and jam session on Zoom in collaboration with the Racer Sessions of Seattle. Each month’s opening performer will choose a social justice organization that we will learn more about and direct donations toward for the month.

ZOOM Link for Sunday’s session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87329512055

 

We’re excited that our second session of the season will be with Nick Dunston of Brooklyn, currently based in Berlin, Germany!

Nick Dunston is a composer, improviser, and instrumentalist. An “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde” (New York Times), his performances have also spanned a variety of venues and festivals across North America and Europe. He’s performed, toured, and recorded professionally with bands led by artists such as Vijay Iyer, Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Imani Uzuri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Amirtha Kidambi, Amir ElSaffar, Allison Miller, and Darius Jones.
Nick will be presenting new music on his Electro-Acoustic-Theremin (EAT) Banjo. This will be his first “performance” with that instrument, as he steps deeper into the world of instrument-building.

Nick has chosen the amazing Third Wave Fund as this month’s organization of focus! Third Wave Fund is an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans people under 35 years of age. They work to ensure that young folks are decision-makers at the cutting edge of philanthropy where they are commonly absent.

For more information on Nick: http://www.nickdunston.org
For more information on TWF: http://www.thirdwavefund.org/index.html

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: (These instructions are tailored to the latest version of Zoom as of 9/5/2020 — you may want to check that your software is up to date!)

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn ON: ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. If you are using headphones, turn ON: ‘Disable echo cancellation’

c. If you are using an ethernet cable, turn ON: ‘High fidelity music mode’

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS (for older version):

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

Ed Stalling & John Sporman present Sunday, September 6 – FreeSessions resume collaboration with the Racer Sessions for the Zoom Sessions Online

From the organizers:

We are excited to resume our monthly sessions this Sunday 9/6 in collaboration with Seattle’s Racer Sessions online. Online sessions will go from 6-7pm MT. We’ll feature a curator for the first 15 minutes, and open up to improvisations from the community after that. Every month we will highlight and donate to a racial justice organization, encouraging our community to support this organization as well. We are supporting racial justice organizations in order to honor and recognize the profound influence of Black music on our community and the systemic way Black people have not been properly supported by the music industry and our general society. We feel it is important to catalyze our privilege as a community to support Black people and other marginalized communities.

For September, the curators have chosen to highlight the Southern Poverty Law Center. Read the blog post below for more information. Find suggestions below the blog post for optimizing Zoom audio settings.

Sunday, September 6, 6pm MT Zoom link for the session: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82572053587

Blog post by Ed Stalling:

Combined Racer Session (Seattle) & FreeSession (Lakebottom Sound, Missoula) 

September 6, 2020

FreeSessions’ aim is to use improvisation to help bridge the different “scenes” that exist across genres in Missoula.  Sunday’s opening is just that:  two artists from different “scenes” coming together to improvise a piece they call “Through The Window.”

Ed Stalling and John Sporman are no stranger to the Montana music scene.  Combined, they perform over 250 gigs a year in a wide variety of groups, genres and settings. 

Multi-instrumentalist John Sporman creates and performs with national touring groups (currently with Wylie and The Wild West), local bands (Tom Catmull and Clerics, Shahs, NextDoorPrisonHotel, Avant-Garde Alliance), and also writes scores for films, silent movies and dance pieces.  

Percussionist Ed Stalling has been described as having “huge ears and an even larger command of subtle dynamics.”  His performance experience crosses genres ranging from pit-orchestras and big bands to traditional Brazilian combos, covering all points on the musical compass.

They will present an improvisational piece called “Through The Window”

 

Through The Window

    

Many of us across the world have loved ones in nursing homes.  We put our hands together on windows — generations separated by glass.  On one side, those at the end of their lives; having lived through the great depression, a world war, the turmoil of the 60’s.  On the other side, their grown kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Unable to hug or hold hands, communications fraught by bad hearing and dementia, it’s a sad meeting of confusion, frustration, and sadness. 

I’m at such a window in Missoula with my 97-year old mother-in-law.  Pictures alone can’t express how surreal it is so we’ll try music.  We’ll have an improvisational musical conversation exploring: What is it like?  To be confused, tired, isolated, 97 years old, looking out a window at your daughter, your grandkids, your great-grandkids, not quite knowing why they can’t come in and what’s happening.

Invest in Social Justice:

We want to Spotlight and encourage donating to SPLC, The Southern Poverty Law Center.  Hate groups are using social media to grow hate, and this is a group that is a counter-balance to them.  They fight hate from three angles:

  1. They monitor hate groups and other extremists throughout the US and expose their activities to the public, the media and law enforcement.
  2. They Teach Tolerance by providing educational resources to teachers that emphasize anti-bias and social justice — encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. 
  3. They stand up for the powerless, the exploited and other victims of discrimination and hate.  With a staff of more than 100 lawyers and advocates, SPLC focuses on impact litigation in these practice areas: Children’s RightsEconomic JusticeImmigrant JusticeLGBTQ Rights, Voting Rights, and Criminal Justice Reform.

SPLC also gets the highest rating from Charity Navigator — meaning they are a well-managed, efficient, reputable not-for-profit.

 

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS:

0) TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND! (details below)

1) Use a laptop if possible (not a phone or a tablet)

a. Use headphones when playing with other people

b. Use external mic if available

2) Settings → Audio

a. Turn OFF: Automatically adjust microphone volume

b. Adjust microphone level

c. Optionally: turn ON “Enable stereo” (this options needs to be activated first on your zoom account)

3) Settings → Audio → Advanced

a. Turn on: ‘show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’

b. Disable: both Background Noise options

c. Echo Cancellation: Auto

4) Turn on Original Sound!

a. Turn it on in the top left of the meeting; if it’s on, it should read “Turn off Original Sound”

5) If possible, connect to the internet with an Ethernet cable, not WiFi

June 7 collaboration with The Racer Sessions postponed to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement

The FreeSessions, in collaboration with Racer Sessions, recognizes and honors this critical time in the movement to end systemic racism and police brutality against Black people. Therefore we will not be holding a session on June 7. We hope that you will join us in continuing to learn about these issues and take actions to support Black people and this movement because BLACK LIVES MATTER and we live in a culture and country that continues to systematically deny this fact.

Here are some resources that may be of use on your journey. We are encouraged by how many people are leaning in to this work right now, and we hope you will continue to do so for the long haul.

Education Resources:

bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PrAq4iBNb4nVIcTsLcNlW8zjaQXBLkWayL8EaPlh0bc/preview?fbclid=IwAR3K-i7ExSOz7Xd11hB65s6D6Ti4rS3DrbBG65XnSF_uR_zIPtLE8jF0RoE&pru=AAABcqB9QIk*zdgIkwIHaRXLdg5mv1-QkA

https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1a-lzdtxOlWuzYNGqwlYwxMWADtZ6vJGCpKhtJHHrS54/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR0i63KwBFE3DNdqZ7MX8DreKZwfTDV4OGpfd3r5Z-DtESXo29He4Fcfix0

https://blacklivesmatter.com

https://www.mpd150.com

https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision

https://unicornriot.ninja

https://www.blackvisionsmn.org

https://eji.org

https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home/#about

 

Action Resources:

m4bl.org

 

Montana Places to Donate:

MT BIPOC Mutual Aid Fund: Venmo @mtbipocaid. Cash app: $MTBIPOCAid

https://www.themtrep.org

http://hs.umt.edu/aas/donate.php?fbclid=IwAR07ru-7bWcqMag8rpa1oII81LmirKuQ5k20JBnaQgTaZQpSZneeTsVDg3A

https://www.empowermt.org

 

National Places to Donate:

https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html

 

National Resource List:

https://linktr.ee/nationalresourceslist

 

Anti-Racism Resources for the Arts and Nonprofits:

https://blog.fracturedatlas.org

 

How to Support Black-Owned Small Business

https://www.finimpact.com/blacklivesmatter-support-black-owned-small-businesses/

Please email lakebottomsound@gmail.com to make any useful suggestions for this list.

May 3, Zoom Sessions – Cameron Sharif & ptesseract (Collaboration with the Racer Sessions)

Hello fine folks from the FreeSessions community,

This week’s session is very special because it is a collaboration with the Racer Sessions out of Seattle, WA! The Racer Sessions model is the original inspiration for the FreeSessions, so we are thrilled to be bringing our communities together at this time.  We’ll start off the session with two opening sets, one curated by the Racer Sessions and the other by the FreeSessions.

First up, presented by the Racer Sessions, we’ll have a solo set by Cameron Sharif, an incredible keyboardist from Seattle now living in LA who was a Racer Sessions regular and an integral part of the Seattle creative music scene.

https://cameronsharif.bandcamp.com
https://chemicalclock.bandcamp.com
https://justchatting.bandcamp.com

Next, presented by the FreeSessions will be Sean Howard aka the ptesseract, who uses a looper, drum machine, sampler and a variety of instruments to create a sonic wonderland that is based on a symbiotic balance of composition and improvisation. Check out more of Sean’s work at these links:

www.seansong.org
Www.YouTube.com/seanburress

Following the opening sets, we’ll open it up to a jam session like normal, this time with members from both the Racer Sessions and FreeSessions communities and hopefully beyond! Everyone is welcome to participate in the jam session, or you can just sit back and watch and listen. We will also stream the session live via the Racer Sessions Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/racersessions/], so if you only wish to spectate, no need to log in to the Zoom meeting.

Link to the Zoom meeting: https://washington.zoom.us/j/97645294067?pwd=YkVUeXJPYjdJeUJrSnBiUHBDdmFBZz09

“Doors” will “open” at 3:45pm, meaning that’s when you can join the Zoom meeting and start hanging out! At 4pm the music will begin, and we’ll finish up at 6pm.

We also want to apologize once more to those who experienced the unfortunate Zoombombing incident last Sunday. We were caught off guard and should have been more prepared to adequately handle the situation. We have implemented a number of security measures to help prevent this from happening again, including:

– Enabling a waiting room to control who’s joining.
– Designating people in charge of managing participants in case an issue arises.
– Tightening up a number of other security settings in Zoom to centralize control to the official Host/Co-Hosts of the meeting.

Since we aren’t able to support Cafe Racer by purchasing food and drinks, we’re asking for donations for them via Venmo. These are tough times for everyone, so donate what you can, but don’t worry if you don’t have the means to contribute right now.

Venmo: @Cafe-Racer

You may also support Cafe Racer by purchasing gift cards [https://intentionalist.com/product/cafe-racer/], checking out their current online auction [https://www.32auctions.com/caferacer], or ordering their great food to-go!

ZOOM AUDIO SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS:

*If possible, connect directly to your Internet via ethernet when using Zoom. WiFi should still work well enough in most cases if a wired connection is unavailable, though there will be higher latency, and if the connection is too weak it may result in inadequate audio/video quality and/or freezing.*

*We recommend using headphones unless you are muted, and, generally, using an external microphone of better quality than your device’s built-in microphone. For digital/electronic instruments, plugging directly into your computer may work well, too!*

1. In Zoom, go to “Preferences.”
2. Click “Audio” from the menu on the left.
3. If using an external microphone, make sure it is selected from the menu in the “Microphone” section.
4. We recommend unchecking the box next to “Automatically adjust microphone volume” and setting a good “Input Volume” yourself. You can click the “Test Mic” button to record a short sample and listen back to see how it sounds. Try playing something loud to make sure it isn’t distorting. The auto-adjust feature compresses dynamics, which may be ok for talking but not for music!
5. Click “Advanced” at the bottom right of the Audio Settings screen.
6. Check the box for “Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone.” Turning Original Sound “On” allows you to preserve the sound from your microphone without using Zoom’s echo cancellation and audio-enhancing features which are not necessarily music-friendly.
7. Under “Audio Processing,” select “Disable” for both “Suppress Persistent Background Noise” and “Suppress Intermittent Background Noise.”
8. “Echo Cancellation” can be set to “Auto.”
9. Last thing! Once you’re back in the Zoom meeting, find the button in the top left of the video window that says “Turn [on/off] Original Sound” — make sure that Original Sound is turned on!

April FreeSessions cancelled due to Covid-19

Stay healthy out there and feel free to send us videos of you improvising or tag Lakebottom Sound on social media. We will miss our community gathering this month and look forward to a time when we can gather and listen and play.

Please continue to support Imagine Nation Brewing Company – our gracious hosts. They are doing CANNED BEER PICK-UP ONLY (cards only/no cash) at the brewery between the hours of 4:00 – 7:00PM.

Sending love!

Mitchell Bailey presents Sunday, March 1

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:

Me: Trombone

Ross Strausser: Saxophone

Connor Rocicot: Piano

Kyler Rebich: Bass

Willie Baltz: Percussion

Lindsey Marie (Bells from Linden) presents Sunday, February 2

Lindsey’s Blog Post:

The Real, the Raw, the True – that’s what it’s all about, the growth that spreads inside.  In creative expression we attempt to translate the sometimes impossible, mysterious realm into sight, sound, touch, taste or smell.  When brave hearted artists have the strength to unzip the inner walls of our existence to translate our own presence, lives can be shifted forever.  Unmovable mountains can be moved. We bring our empty cups to the wellsprings of vulnerability in search of the Real, the Raw, the True. We drink and refill.  It is not easy.

This process of opening to artistic attunement helps us learn how to be more human, for ourselves and others.  We need this like we need food. All people need creative expression – not all people know we need it. But we will die without it.  It’s a basic human need, an interconnected thread that asks artists of all mediums to be life-affirming leaders.

We want to witness the ethereal spoken into thick air, to be blanketed in words or images that trace the very existence of our desire.  We want to hear courage, to listen to the momentary erosion of our own fear from the beginning of a song to the end. We want to see grief in a matted glaze, to hold the clay bunny in our hands and feel tragedy translated perfectly.  We want to taste kindness, that sweet relief of a soup made with empathy. We want to feel love pour through our hair and land on our shoulders, like a flannel bag of hot rice.

Moments of attunement, strung together, form a life fully lived.  And attunement is impossible without the ingredient of free creativity.  The way mindful conversation with a loved one can open long hidden rooms, like language as a map leads the lost souls home.  The way light lands on a prison cell floor and brings a memory of comfort to the innocent’s eyes. The way a two hour play can mark the official beginning of a new way of life.  The way a book can sooth loneliness through companionship over dinner alone.

What moves you in the wide umbrella of creativity?  My answer is humble vulnerability. Intimate and open exploration of the Real, the Raw and the True is the gift of all gifts.  As everyone is an artistic being, we are all invited into the choice of how much to open our emotional vessels, when to unzip our internal landscapes and if – if to even begin at all.  For me, that’s the hardest part. But I want skin inside out, I want the microscopic. I want to feel the churning circulation of the heart of the one giving the gift. And if that’s me, I want to make sure I’m showing up a clear channel on my highest road.  I want to hear your stories – however thin or vast – I want to share mine. And when I sing, I want to give like gravity.

FreeSessions is a place that has consistently invited my vulnerability to widen.  Without knowing it, FreeSessions has held me in days I could not speak yet found strength to sing.  FreeSessions held me up when I could not stand. FreeSessions is a small community worth fighting for, a place I love to co-facilitate.  For this curation, I’m grateful to share some of my original music with this mountain town, solo style. My broken down ukulele, with alternate tunings, will be my trusty steed.  I’m grateful to offer my poems as an optional cliff jump for free improvisations. And I will invite myself and other brave explorers to dive into the question:

What does your Real, your Raw, your True…need to express right now?