04/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 111)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 111

Date: 04/21/2013

Instrument: Alto saxophone

Location: Lecture Room 331 in the University of Washington School of Music.  Seattle, WA


This is my first improvisation in the 12 Moons series that was specifically inspired by the music of another musician.  I spent about an hour with my friends and fellow saxophonists Ivan Arteaga and Jacob Zimmerman beginning work on Roscoe Mitchell’s composition Nonaah, scored for 4 saxophones.  The percussive, driving nature of Nonaah has always greatly inspired me, and the quartet adaptation features a wonderful variety of tempos and material.  I recorded this improvisation immediately after leaving the rehearsal, and I felt inspired me to carry Roscoe’s compositional model into the recording space.  

In Roscoe’s composition Nonaah, there is a very defined melody that is worked and reworked and re-tooled during each of his performances.  The melody itself is very rhythmically disjunct and covers a range spanning about 3 octaves.  In my improvisation today I explored the model of disjunct melodies with a very tight center of rhythmic gravity.  I approached the improvisation with no particular melody in mind, but very much like Nonaah I leaned heavily on chromaticism displaced by octaves.  I divided the improvisation into 4 sections, those being: 1.  Short, percussive melodies in wide range with little space between pitches.  2.  Short, percussive melodies in wide range using more space between pitches.  3.  Long, chorale-like melodies in wide range moving from one pitch to the next.  4.  Low octave, sweeping pitches that dovetailed one pitch into the next.