05/02/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 122)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 122

Date: 05/02/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Practice Room B at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


This improvisation was a response to my environment this afternoon.  I found myself at South Whidbey High School with about 15 minutes between students, in an otherwise back to back day of teaching.  I walked out of the practice room into the hallway.  In the choir room to my left a few students were practicing congas, in a separate practice room a kid was escaping an assembly by hiding in the corner with his headphones on, and in the band room a group of students was listening to a lecture and Bach organ piece hugely amplified–enough to fill a space twice its size.  I considered my surroundings, the controlled nature of a classroom, the raw intensity of a kid hiding from obligation, and two people exploring new art together.  My response was an attempt to bridge the gap between everything around me.  

I performed this piece at high volume, focusing on a two-part form, the first being a descending gesture that ended on a low tone, and the second a swiping exploration of a single pitch.  In the descending figure, I used various fingerings to create an indeterminate high pitch and descended to a low Bb fingering, all the while screaming into the horn.  For the second element of the form, I played the same low Bb fingering but spoke the first overtone, which is the Bb an octave higher.  I used single, double and flutter tonging to explore a swiping motion of sound.

Also of note today, from the moment I left the house I was convinced I had the flu.  I fought it all morning and when I recorded this improvisation I decided to use it as voodoo to ward off the sickness.  I walked out of the room without a trace of it.


The image accompanying todays post is a hurricane as seen from the International Space Station.