Category Archives: Strange New Worlds

Barbeque

The improv band had a small barbeque gig last Saturday. Joining us this time was Nolan on guitar. The results were definitely groovy.

You pretty much can’t go wrong with these. #1 starts a little messy, but we get the hang of it after a few minutes. #7 doesn’t really go anywhere. Other than that, enjoy.

UPDATE: Kids, what’s it called when people are treated equally when they clearly aren’t equal? Communism. I should have said this before: tracks 5, 6, and 8 are clearly superior to the others.

The Pruning Sessions

Unnamed improv band recordings from Apr 25:

The lineup:

  • Eric – drums
  • Evan – bass
  • Luke – keyboard
  • Charlie – keyboard
  • Nolan – guitar
  • Devon – guitar

Nolan and Devon were playing the same guitar, (hopefully) not at the same time :-).

Essential Trio

Evan and I played with a new drummer, Kevin Masse, last night. It was just the three of us: keyboard, bass, and drums. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I’ve always been interested in whether I had the chops to keep a trio together. I think the conclusion is that I do, but I function in a quartet better, where I have time and space to sit out and just listen. I think as I improve more, the trio thing might get more and more viable.

In any case, here are the recordings:

  1. 2007-04-18_01
  2. 2007-04-18_02
  3. 2007-04-18_03
  4. 2007-04-18_04
  5. 2007-04-18_05

Falling apart

My improv band seems to be falling apart, mostly driven by my inability to find a drummer to substitute for Phil. I get the feeling that Evan and Charlie want to keep it going, but it’s been idle for too long and we’re all aching to play music. Charlie is okay with having a drumless band, but I’m not (I’m not averse to practicing without a drummer, but I want a drummer for the long term vision).

I wonder what the best plan of action is. Should I get the three of us together just to tighten our group and keep it going? Maybe I should invite Evan and a drummer for a jam session, and try to form a core out of those three. Then I could add Charlie soon, when we found that the three of us are not enough to hold it together. That way the drummer does not feel like he’s coming into an existing project, and hopefully he can become a reliable core member. Then we have two cores, Evan+Luke+Charlie and Evan+Luke+drummer, and we could merge to form a tight group.

I’d also like to experiment playing with some completely other groups of improv musicians. I recognize that what we’ve done has been unique and pretty cool, but I’d like to explore the space a bit more. I don’t think Evan and Charlie are a perfect match for me (but imperfection may be a virtue, keeping new and conflicting ideas flowing, so we stay versatile).

It looks like my current plan is to start over on craigslist, calling all musicians, and then keep Evan and Charlie in the book for that.

More Jammin

The improv band got together again last Saturday. Here are the recordings:

  1. 2007-03-10_01
  2. 2007-03-10_02
  3. 2007-03-10_03
  4. 2007-03-10_04
  5. 2007-03-10_05
  6. 2007-03-10_06

Their quality varies. #5 is the longest, and by the end it’s pretty cool, but there are some rough times getting there. #6 is pretty amazing—we had a guideline to prefer over-sparsity to over-density, and it worked like a charm. The rest are listenable, but not great.

Oh, we had a guest guitarist. His name was Kyle.

Jammin’

A while ago, I posted about a post to craigslist about setting up an improv band. Well, I did set one up, talking back and forth to many candidates, and picked three for our initial jam on January 22nd. We got along great musically, and have jammed a few more times since then, and are now looking for a few more instruments to join us.

Phil, the drummer, has been recording us. Here are the recordings, which I have taken the liberty of naming.

  1. Timmy Dance
  2. Saturn
  3. Relative Motion
  4. How To Teach Jazz
  5. Two One Sided Conversations
  6. Intoxicated
  7. The Summoning / Minion Party

Here’s the lineup:

  • Drums – Phil Rummings
  • Bass – Evan Cantor
  • Keyboards – Luke Palmer (left channel) & Charlie Bryant (right channel)

I recommend tracks 1, 5, 6, and 7. Track 1 is probably the least interesting of those four.

Improv Band

I just posted the following to craigslist Denver:

I’m a keyboardist who has been playing for 12 years. I’m interested in starting an improv band, but somewhat different from a “jam band”. I want to see how improv goes when there is always one person not playing his instrument, but instead “conducting” the whole process (but that person changes from jam to jam). I think this could allow for dynamics and solidity that isn’t often heard in “jam music”, and could be quite a unique sound.

I am open to many styles. The most important thing is that you have to be _capable_ of dynamic playing (eg. being able to bring it waaay down low now and then), and you have to be a good listener. All instrumentalists are welcome: I have no preference for the instrumentation (every instrument brings its own unique contribution, and improv has a way of accommodating that nicely).

We’ll see how it goes.