So, I was at the Butch Morris Conduction concert the other night at Nublu.  It was pretty interesting.  Such a juxtaposition in sound, improvisation, and performance.  At once completely free and adventurous, and yet precisely controlled to an almost obsessive compulsive level.  I don't know how much of it you get from the website, but here it is for those interested: http://www.conduction.us/main.html

I thought that I would have more of an opinion on the music that was created, but what piqued my interest was watching the musicians operate their instruments.  Over the years, I've been to hundreds of concerts, and seen all kinds of musicians play all kinds of music.  But the difference here was that these were classical chamber musicians playing improvised music as an ensemble.  I thought about how each of them, depending on the way each instrument is played, executes a certain gesture in a particular physical way.  For example, as a pianist, I have very direct access to each pitch, and don't have to hold my instrument.  It's sturdy, so I can just slam my hands on it as hard as I want, if that's what I decide to do.  However, I can't vibrate on a note, and I can't crescendo on a single note.  I also can't bend pitches.  String players have to hold their instruments, they have to worry about intonation and so forth, yet they have that true legato ability, and lots of other good stuff that I have serious string envy over.  Please stop me before I describe each instrument's abilities and limitations...

Anyway, this concert made me reflect on all of this.  And that led me to reflect on a concept that was a hard reality of performing classical music.  That sometimes we allow our emotions to overtake the physical execution, and what ends up coming out is not necessarily what we were trying to express, even though it felt great.  Man, that happens so often.  The ears turn off, and the body turns on.  It doesn't really make for a great performance.  (Not to say that you can't emote physically when you perform, just that there needs to be a balance, and the ears have to stay on.)  But anyway, I just wonder... does that apply to improvised music as well?  It seems to lend itself better in this genre, but still... I wonder if it is better to let the ear lead the whole thing, instead of letting the physical get too out of control.

A lot of times, maybe even all of the times, when I do these improvs, I just sit down at the piano, place my hands on the keys and go.  There's very little preparation or thought before the first notes are played.  And I wonder if this is perhaps in the wrong direction....

... anyway, it's late.  I wanna go to bed.  Sorry to wrap up before I really got my full thoughts on the page.  Maybe more tomorrow on this topic.

Here we go, Day 58: https://ia800504.us.archive.org/1/items/Improv101111/10_11_113_45Pm.mp3