03/10/12

Improv in Florida, Part 2

African Grey Parrot - Psittacus erithacus - macro

Florida improv adventures, continued. I’m at the University of Northern Florida as a guest of pianist/composer Gary Smart, Gary is a piano wizard (who can switch from stride to avant garde without missing a beat) and composer who has won a slew of awards, who met Henry Mancini and Leonard Bernstein and others as a young composer and prize winner, who has lived in Alaska, Japan, Germany, Wyoming, and Florida, who has an African Grey Parrot named Doc (who gladly sits on his shoulder for hours and who has his own distinct words for “Time to feed the parrot!” and “Bored!” and who loves to rips No. 2 pencils to bits with his beak), and, who has one of the two classes in classical (nonjazz) improv in the US that every music student must take before graduation (the other is taught by Charles Young at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point) (I have had one for 11 years, but it’s an elective and not required).

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