01/16/2013 (12 Moons Project Day 16)

12 Moons Solo Project Day 16

Date: 01/16/2013
Instrument: Alto saxophone
Location: Home studio (Clinton, WA on Whidbey Island)


My deepest roots as an improviser coil back to the music of John Coltrane. In his music I found liberation. It represented to me artistic freedom and the glorious truth that an artist will push themselves, time and time again into uncertainty in their craft, only to emerge stronger for having done so. It was not a conscious choice today, but there is no question in my mind that the source material from this improvisation begins with Coltrane. I have always loved Coltrane’s melodies, and particularly those from his final period. Though his music was tense and aggressive, his melodies almost always retained a very folk-like, strongly pentatonic sound that seemed to always add a universal quality to all that he played. 

In this piece I explored melodicism in a folk-like melody with the following pitches: Gb Ab Eb Ab Gb. These pitches were played with non-traditional fingerings in order to create a fluid and breathy melody. This melody begins in a fairly steady rhythmic pattern, but I worked to keep the melody loose and the meter malleable. As the piece progresses I augment the melody by playing surrounding pitches, and higher and low pitch punctuations. With the fingerings used in this melody and by adjusting my embouchure, a variety of natural split-tones and two note clusters entered into the sound spectrum as well.