About this music:
This set of piano recordings is the first music I’ve made since moving to New York City from San Francisco in 2012. Although most of the solo piano recordings I’ve made could fall under the Clazzimprov category, it wasn’t until this was being recorded that I came up with the name, and focused more clearly on what it meant. This and Volume 1, ins & outs, plus some various other piano pieces were all created between September 2012 and February 2013.
My approach to this set of pieces is different than any I’ve ever done. I didn’t even want to play this repertoire really. So much has been done with this by practically every jazz player in history. I had a deeper challenge personally also. I got burned out playing solo piano (mainly standards) by the mid ‘80’s. Except for a few short time periods since, where it was always about making money, I haven’t been able to sit and play these tunes for a half hour without wanting to stop, now! Let me out of here! Okay, I’ve settled down.
I can almost guarantee you have not heard these pieces done like this - I'm proud to have done these standards this way. If you are not familiar with these tunes, it will sound like my other impressionistic, flourish-y improvisations. And yes, these are fully improvised moments - I did not prepare any of these. I could not have done that with this material if I didn't let myself be free with how the song wanted to be released from my hands.
When I left the performing and traveling world in 2002 to teach and work on further developing my musical voice, one of the biggest reasons was to give myself a break from stylizing music for other than my growing artistic vision. Cocktail piano and some repetitive comping were some of the more notable things to purge from my "hand memory", if there is such a thing. I had to not play anything for a long time as to let the mental imprints fade away. Then I started, very slowly to be able to create an even more linear, multi-voiced way of playing. Yeah, I was coming out! This is the reason why so much of my music is slow or contemplative - it’s still developing.
At some point after being in New York a while, and thinking about different ways to approach and play the piano, I got this idea to play a tune I knew really well and let it be as wild as I wanted - just be free and go. It was Ipanema, and I made it the first cut on the album because of the significance of it capturing the new concept fresh, first take! It clicked, I really liked it and I felt I was on to something I could call my own. Most of the rest of the tunes came out within a couple of weeks and that includes Volume 1.
Now, I realize I was taking all the elements of this music pretty far out and that was part of the reason no one I’ve heard has done it quite like this. It’s a larger break from “tradition” than most will risk. Well, one good thing about getting older is hey, I’ve been playing for 50 years now. That’s MY tradition. This is what I want to say and I’ll accept the consequences.
To be fair to myself, I’ve spent my entire career developing this style, mainly on the side. I’ve made huge financial choices to be true to my art. It has arrived, and I’m thrilled to be letting this cat out of the bag!
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