I have considered keeping a blog for several years now. Even though blogs are so last decade, I have decided that now is the right time for me to do this. On a sliding scale between diary and journal, this blog hopes to land decidedly on the journal side. I have kept a hand-written journal for most of my life, and have a knee-high stack of spiral binders in my closet. Writing my ideas down has always seemed to crystalize and organize my thoughts, making something on which I could build my creative fancy. Or not; a completed thought is not necessarily a good one.
I have spent most of my creative life at the intersection of composition and improvisation. I have created compositional processes that mimic improvisation, transcribed improvisations, used improvisations as the basis for compositions, and, ultimately, embraced improvisation as a compositional technique. I have explored the elusive line that separates composition from improvisation, and the line that separates improvisation’s role as a performance technique from that of a compositional technique. I have pondered the role of ideas in music, as well as the role of expression. I have also tried to develop principles of music theory that are actually useful to a creative musician.
Throughout my career, I have made my living as a performer, with over forty years as a bassist with the Phoenix Symphony. My creative life has been an avocation, for the most part, but a busy and time-consuming one. Between being a full-time symphony musician, composer and improviser, not to mention keeping up two instruments (bass and piano), I have unfortunately had very little time left for students (and most of those have been bass students). Since interaction with my creative colleagues has occasionally been rather infrequent, my journal has been my primary confidant for many of the various ideas that have sprung from this unusual mixing of techniques and aesthetics. In starting this blog, I hope to traverse some of these subjects, and interact with those who might have interesting comments, creative suggestions, or enthusiastic rebuttal.
Though I plan to discuss events, performances, and other composers’ music, I don’t plan to make this a review blog. However, I look forward to listening to the music of other composers and improvisers who may send it along. Those who wish to contact me may do so on the Contact page. In many of my favorite blogs, the Comments are often just as or more interesting than the original post. I would like nothing better than for that to happen here.
I have also become very interested in India Ink Painting. Hopefully, I don’t embarrass myself too much in posting some to accompany my written posts.
So thank you for stopping by. Read, comment, and if you enjoy, please follow. I am happy to share these pages with those who have genuine interest in this rather eclectic discourse.