Music Instigator – Interview with Jeffrey Agrell

Bill Arnold interviewed me last month and just published the edited results on his web site, The Music Instigator (there are also a couple of embedded videos of me improvising with Lin Foulk and Werner Elmker). The audio interview is entitled: “Jeffrey Agrell – Improvisation for Everyone”

I’ve only listened to the beginning of it, but I think he did a good job in putting it together. And the title really sums it all up! Thanks, Bill!


Improvisation in F# Lydian with Jeffrey Agrell, horn and Werner Elmker, piano

One of the great things about improvisation is that you can have a musical conversation with anyone who ‘speaks the language.’ I met Werner Elmker indirectly. Werner is an amazingly versatile and talented pillar of the artistic community of Fairfield, IA; my wife (Shari Rhoads) had used his video and photography services for her arts organization Concertia, and she recommended him to me to do some photos for my new CD Soundings. So I connected with him, and it was a very successful photo shoot. As we got to talking, I found out that he was and is both a classical pianist as well as an improviser and fairly quickly we resolved to get together and make (up) music. So I went to Fairfield recently for some spontaneous duets with him. The video here is one of them, filmed on the stage of the Sondheim Center (Werner used remote control; when he clapped, the cameras started rolling. What an age we live in…). We did minimal planning in the improvisations. Here we just picked a scale and started playing. A one-time shot. It was a wonderful session, all the things that improv does so well – a musical conversation where you just play and listen and react and go and create until it seems time to end. I look forward to the next time we get together.


New CD: Soundings (horn improvisation)

My new CD “Soundings” was just released on the MSR Classics label (msrcd.com).

Booklet.qxdIt is an exploration of a new area for me: horn plus the use of various electronic effects to experiment with new timbres, new means of expression.

Continue reading


Creativity Quotes of the Day

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887...

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) in 1925. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are enriched by all the music you know by heart; it becomes a part of you. –Nadia Boulanger

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. –Anonymous

The Earth without Art is just “eh”. –Anonymous

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. – Duke Ellington

Very few people do anything creative after the age of thirty-five. The reason is that very few people do anything creative before the age of thirty-five. 
- Joel Hildebrand

The way to succeed is to double your error rate. – Thomas J. Watson

Improv Game of the Day: Call to Quarters

Improv Game of the Day: Call to Quarters

1-4 players. Pick a major key and moderate tempo (e.g. MM=72). The only note value allowed is the q...

[ read more ]

Tag: improv-game, improvisation

TED talk by Doireann O'Connor: Developing Creativity and Innovation Through Education (video)

The embed code given for the TED talk of the title turned out to be something else (still interestin...

[ read more ]

Tag: creativity, doireann-oconnor, education, innovation, ted-talk

Improv Quote of the Day: Artistry and Improvisation

Improv Quote of the Day: Artistry and Improvisation

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"] (Photo credit: LibraryatNight)[/caption] You learn m...

[ read more ]

Tag: improv-quote, improvisation, learning-music

Remembering Butch Morris (Conduction) (Video)

Butch Morris, inventor of the gestural system called "conduction" died yesterday in Brooklyn. Listen...

[ read more ]

Tag: butch-morris, conduction

Improv Game of the Day: The Hands Tell a Story

Improv Game of the Day: The Hands Tell a Story

2 players. Two players sit in chairs facing each other. The game: construct a piece using hand a...

[ read more ]

Tag: hand-gestures, improv-games-2, improvisation