For me, the music is both completely natural and accessible and highly skilled, but it's a skill that anyone can uncover and develop if they want to. Let audiences know it's an adventure.
I remember watching an improvised duo with trombonist Hanes Bauer and guitarist Joe Sachse, and there were so many exciting twists and turns, it was like watching a thriller. I was on the edge of my seat.
On your Website, you wrote, "I draw from the personal and the universal which holds everything we need for spontaneous and structured performance and composition. The challenge is what to express from this infinite resource." Can you talk more about this subject? Do you view your improvisation practice as a metaphor for the experiences that happen in your life?
I think what I mean is that the personal and collective unconscious is an infinite resource which we can draw on. It's up to each improviser whether they channel and express whatever comes up or filter it through a process of discrimination, selection, and rejection, etc. I do both. Sometimes it's censored or refined, sometimes not, but the more experienced you become, the more skillfully you can make instinctive choices in the moment.
I would dearly like my life to be more like improvised music! It's where I'm the most honest, articulate, and free. I also love the balance of individual and collective freedom that happens in group playing; what I call, "in our different rhythms together."
The experiences in my life do also affect my music making.
Considering that free improvisation is a spontaneous composition, is there a musical structure that unfolds more often than others? On drawing upon the infinite resources of the universe, is it fair to say that there's an infinite variety of musical forms that work and communicate in free improvisation?
The only thing I know is that when I trust the creative process, it works, and when I don't it doesn't. Now there's a challenge; the challenge of simplicity which for me is the gateway to genuine complexity, rather than contrived cleverness.
I definitely feel that the potential diversity in improvisation makes it more lasting and sustainable, like dialectical life and nature itself.
There are as many potential structures as there are combinations of improvisers, although of course there are certain patterns some of us may gravitate to more than others depending on a variety of circumstances. However, like with nature and life, there are surprises, upheavals and mutations just when we're getting a bit too coherent and cozy.
You also practice yoga. How has this directly influenced your music? For example, do you believe that certain pitches or scales stimulate particular emotions?
For me, the yoga is more about becoming more vibrant and healthy in mind, body, and emotions; developing greater awareness in every area of my life, which of course makes a difference to how I make music and perform.
There are so many different correspondences between notes and colors, pitch, etc., that I don't follow it too intensely. However, I am composing a song cycle of the Major Arcana in the Tarot that uses one of the systems of color and pitch. It's an enjoyable exercise and a lovely springboard for the creative imagination.
I'd like to explore it more. A yoga teacher gave me a lovely chart of colors and notes and scales which I started exploring, but I lost it! However, in free improvisation, as well as composing and songwriting, I think we're individually and collectively drawn to the sounds that move us and communicate meaning on sometimes quite deep levels. Different sounds say different things to different people and at different times.
Certain notes have resonated more emotionally for me, but as I've become closer to my voice, even notes I didn't get on with so much, in my range, are my friends now. END