I had the pleasure of performing with the ensemble SONE (separate post about this) at the Immediate Music Festival in Denver, CO on April 29 and then (2nd half of the concert) watching the remarkable Dino J.A. Deane use Butch Morris’s system of Conduction to create music with his virtuoso ensemble FLUXCREW. I’d heard about Conduction for a long time, but have never had the pleasure of being at a concert until this one. It was terrific – I enjoyed it all immensely. Dino says that he will be coming out with a book on Conduction soon – I expect to be first in line to get a copy! Anyone, here are clips from that concert – enjoy!
Pianist Scott Hughes recently crowd funded (Kickstarter) a project to build a card game to help musicians practice improvisation. It’s called Tonic, and you can download it for free. Scott says:
I believe improvisation is the #1 greatest thing a musician can do to improve him or herself as a player and as a person. The tragedy is that it’s not taught in standard music programs, and as a result most musicians are afraid of it. I studied music at UArts and Temple and saw a lot of the usual problems, so I want to provide an alternative.
The act of making music, clothes, art, or even food has a very different and possibly more beneficial effect on us than simply consuming those things. And yet, for a very long time, the attitude of the state toward teaching and funding the arts has been in direct opposition to fostering creativity among the general population. It can often seem that those in power don’t want us to enjoy making things for ourselves – they’d prefer to establish a cultural hierarchy that devalues our amateur efforts and encourages consumption rather than creation. … Capitalism tends toward the creation of passive consumers, and in many ways this tendency is counterproductive. Our innovations and creations, after all, are what keep many seemingly unrelated industries alive.
– David Byrne, How Music Works
Wonderful radio interview with Western Michigan University Horn professor Lin Foulk and a WMU horn quartet doing some improv! Don’t miss it!
In the beginning, when clouds were God’s breath, and buffaloes roared without fear, and time was uncounted except by death and birth and the sky darkening, there was performance. And it was never counted as special or apart because it was and it was what happened and without it we thought there would be drought and insufficiency and possibly war when you wanted peace, or peace when you wanted war. So we moved and shook and spoke in sequences of unidentified languages and evoked harmony in ourselves and terror in our enemies. And we urged ourselves good fortune and bonded with each other and reinforced ourselves as tribe of reindeer or mountain or lyre bird.
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!