1/29/2014 (My Country Tis of Thee?)

1/29/2014 (My Country Tis of Thee?)

This is from the archives: I actually recorded this two years ago (1/23/14 to be precise) but once again found it when I was looking for something else. That’s how the universe basically works, given quantum reality and all of that. In any case this is a very odd take on My Country Tis of Thee  (or God Save the Queen/King if you’re from that side of the pond.) It’s kind of insane, and perhaps sloppy in places, but well worth it because it’s just completely unexpected. Right then.

1/21/14 Possible Questions

1/21/14 Possible Questions

Soon, very soon (maybe mid-February) I’ll begin making posts of tracks that are directly from the live show Piano Diaries (runs May 21-June 29 at the Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago. Read more about the show here.) In the mean time, I figured it’s about time I start making contributions to the improvised Piano Diaries blog, again. After all this is the original format…been busy getting the show together, so I kind of let it slide.

Alà Gymnopédies (2004)

Alà Gymnopédies (2004)

This track showed up when I was looking for something else: it was in the wrong place at the right time. The track was recorded in 2004 (at least that’s the date of the file) and I apparently submitted to be in a film, because that’s what folder it was in. In any case, it certainly has the feeling of an Erik Satie piece, thus the title. It’s basically improvised, but the theme sounds written; maybe I’ll find the score some day (if it even exists, which I doubt.)

8-16-13: Beautiful Morning, Aug. 16

8-16-13: Beautiful Morning, Aug. 16

There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow?

Well, no there’s not: for one, there’s no meadow ’round these parts, for another there’s no golden haze. Still, it’s a beautiful summer morning in Northern Illinois.

8-15-13: The Piano in the Room

8-15-13: The Piano in the Room

Whenever Beethoven would walk into a room and see a piano he would feel this tension, a tension arising from the fact that he had an almost primal sexual urge to play it, but at the same time would resent the fact that he felt the urge to play it. Usually he would resist the urge.

1-7-09: I Found This

1-7-09: I Found This

I just found this in the course of my excavations. As I was brushing off the dirt, cleaning it up for public display, I realized that it had a subtle thematic connection to the track from the previous day (January 6, 2009), though you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you were a musician, and, at that, paying very close attention. But maybe you are a musician, or just have great ears, so this is subtle connection: the first five notes outline the theme of  of that January 6 track. I don’t know if I did this on purpose or not, and if you believe  the philosopher/neuroscientist Sam Harris we have no free will anyway, so even if I did do it on purpose, it was involuntary.

8-03-13: New Blues #3 in G (Take 1)

8-03-13: New Blues #3 in G (Take 1)

This is the third in a series of what is projected to be 24 solo blues in the “new” style, call, prosaically enough, 24 New Blues. (The first one in C is here, the second in Em is here.) This one is VERY hard to play, thus the qualifier “Take 1”. These will eventually go on a separate site with the mirror set of 24 Old Blues. Together they add up to 48 blues, but the site is call 47Blues. You’ll understand when the site goes live. Until then…

(This is also the first post since updating to WordPress 3.6. This version of WordPress supports, among other things, native audio which means I don’t need to embed the tracks from Bandcamp. You still need to go there to actually buy the tracks.)

7-31-13: Amorphous Morning Meditation (Blah)

7-31-13: Amorphous Morning Meditation (Blah)

These kinds of things—amorphous, cloudy, freely tonal-atonal, impressionistic, etc.—are usually best served in small doses. This does have a point, a kind of two-note theme that asserts itself, but it’s on the esoteric, moody side.

7-26-13: Fury with a Singe on Top

7-26-13: Fury with a Singe on Top

This has nothing to do with that great Rodgers & Hammerstein tune, Surrey with Fringe on Top; I just happened to take a liking to that particular play on words is all (as Curly, the character who sings that song, might put it.) My favorite interpretation of the real tune, along of the movie version (which is spectacular,) is this version by McCoy Tyner. Never ceases to amazes to me.


This, on the other hand, does have something to do with that hallowed tune:

Yes, after writing the above, I felt it necessary to actually do something—though in a veiled way—with the main theme of the tune itself. I say (and play) veiled because I’m always wary of the copyright police. There are people out there (some of them I know all too well) who will argue that because I quote seven notes from the theme of the aforementioned tune, that I should register it with the Harry Fox Agency so the estates of R&H can collect micro-royalties every time this is streamed.  Who has time for that nonsense? Thus, my veiled reference: I never actually play a significant part of the melody, so I should be left alone. I call this track Flurry with a Hinged Outcrop. Another veiled reference.

7-25-13: This Could Have Gone Somewhere

7-25-13: This Could Have Gone Somewhere

This could have gone somewhere: it sounds like the prelude to something else, and perhaps that something else is coming later today, or tomorrow, or never. When I finished improvising this short piece, I felt like I should have gone on, that I was giving up to soon. But when I listened to it, I realized I stopped at exactly the right moment—the moment when I was losing interest.