05/29/16

SONE Improv Concert

I am on sabbatical this semester, alleluia, and have been having a most informational, inspirational time, traveling around, meeting amazing people, renewing auld acquaintance, giving workshops, concerts, taking lessons, eating and sleeping badly, and generally having a marvelous time. I will definitely need a vacation after all this, but in the meantime, I am salting away tons of creative compost for coming months and more.

One of the wonderful days was when I was invited by the remarkable Mark Harris to join in his Immediate Music Festival at the University of Colorado-Denver on April 29. It was a great day of performance, demos, and presentations, delightfully capped by a 2-part evening concert. In Part I, I had the deep honor and delight to join the fabulous ensemble SONE (Evan Mazunik, piano and Soundpainting conductor; Mark Harris, alto sax, Jane Rigler, flute(s); Janet Feder, (baritone) guitar) in concert, which consisted of several improvised pieces plus making the music for two silent films. Rather than give you any worded description of this concert, I will paste a link to a video of the entire concert below. Enjoy! [Part II of the concert was in another room, where Dino J.A. Deane gave an amazing demonstration of the gestural improv system Conduction with his ensemble. It was my first exposure to a Conduction concert and I was stunned and delighted. Dino says he is coming out of with book on Conduction soon; I plan to order the first copy.

Link to the video of the concert:

http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/2u1fx

04/7/15

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!

03/27/15

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.