Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Improv with Kate Olson, 2.21.10

Digging in the archives tonight for no particular reason: please enjoy this track, the first improvisation from the "Improvised Duets" CD release concert at BloomBars, February 21st, 2010.

Gary Prince Kate Olson 2.21.10 Improv One by Gary Prince

Gary Prince: Electric Guitar
Kate Olson: Soprano Sax

It is hard to believe this is the first music I've posted featuring Kate Olson. Kate and I have improvised together since 2006, when we met as members of the Creative Arts Orchestra at the University of Michigan, when I was an undergrad and she was getting her Master's in Improvisation. During the summer of 2008 we would improvise together almost twice a week, often joined by Matt Endahl and Tim Cohen, mostly at the Canterbury House. In many ways the dynamic we developed that summer culminated in the recording of "Improvised Duets" in May of 2009, the recording of which is a story for another time. Kate lives in Seattle now and I miss her dearly. The last time we got to play together was November of last year, also at BloomBars - the next time will hopefully be early fall, whenever I can make it out to Seattle. It can't come soon enough for me.

When we performed it live, this track began with about 2 minutes of low, extended technique noise making, clearing the air following a Djembe Khan by Jabari Exum. I decided to leave that off of this track, in the interest of keeping things listenable. I am proud of this track for the way it builds, for the space we leave at the outset, the way the instruments switch roles naturally between soloist and accompanist (at about 3:20), and the transparency of the groove. I think this track is a good example of playing that is supportive without being overly imitative: a common trap in improvised music is trying to play exactly what your partner plays all the time - this chokes the music and limits it, especially in groove playing, where it becomes too easy to get 'stuck' in a tempo, time signature, key, or feel that is no longer compelling.

I feel awkward talking about my own playing like this, like talking about things I liked in my past playing will jinx my ability to play well in the future. I hope you enjoy the track. This weekend I'm playing for the first time with Chelsey Green and the Green Project, practicing, and getting ready for my life to belong to the Levine School of Music Music and Arts Day Camp. More soon.

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