How spontaneous or worked out are your improvisations? David Krakauer

David KrakauerPhoto by Bogdan Krezel, courtesy Aleba Gartner Improvising in Klezmer Music falls basically into two categories. One is the ornamenting of set (traditional or original) melodies. The other is improvising in an open, rhapsodic form—most often the "doina" (a kind of cross between a Rumanian shepherd’s song and cantorial singing). In both instances there […]

How spontaneous or worked out are your improvisations? Tony Trischka

Tony TrischkaPhoto by Don Fisher, courtesy Rounder Records My improvisations take a number of forms. If I’m soloing on a traditional bluegrass tune, I’ll try to stick to the melody as closely as possible. Sometimes I’ll do something that John Hartford (great banjoist and fiddler and composer of “Gentle on my Mind”) suggested to me: […]

How spontaneous or worked out are your improvisations? David S. Ware

David S. WarePhoto by David Katenstein, courtesy AUM Fidelity My solos are just about completely spontaneous, but I may have a pure conception in mind for a particular solo. It may or may not be based around a key center. Usually, what I’m trying to do is overcome something. There’s something inherent in every moment, […]

More Than a Coin Toss: Improvisation vs. Composition in Jazz

Howard MandelPhoto by Melissa Richard Improvisation and composition are two sides of one coin alloyed in the medium of form. At least it’s how it is in jazz — though maybe a coin is too static an image for anything so dynamic as music or so fluid as the relationship of improvisation and composition. Not […]

Soundtracks: March 2001

It’s a funny thing how our weaknesses work, sometimes. My improvising abilities are pitiful – put something down on paper, I’ll play it, but ask me to make it up, and I’m just reading the inside of my eyeballs. The good aspect of the situation is this: I stand in awe of composer-performers who improvise. […]

How spontaneous or worked out are your improvisations?

Regina Carter“…If you try to do the same thing again, you wind up sounding forced and then it’s not improvisation anymore…” David Krakauer“…each improvisation develops a certain "worked out" quality that comes from the effort to achieve an emotional arc within a particular piece…” Tony Trischka“…I’ll often let my fingers lead my brain. In other […]

Goosing the Forum

Frank, Do you have some kind of standing order, or trial by fire, where you encourage NewMusicBox staff to take radically offensive positions as a way of gaining experience in billboard exchanges – kind of like adversarial lawyer debates – and generating “discussion” and hits? Everyone seemed to agree that new music was chamber music, […]