05/08/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 128)


Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 128

Date: 05/08/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: A field near the freeway outside Gilroy, CA.


I’m always struck by the bare, earthen expansiveness of Southern California.  The fields look so pristine from the freeway but underfoot the dirt is clotted, cracked and smells of manure and chemicals.  The piece was recorded in mid-day, on a sunny, clear afternoon outside Gilroy.  I had my band-mate Chris drop me off at the side of the freeway on his way to the gas station.  I recorded at the base of a small hill that separated the freeway onramp from a brown, dusty wheat field that went on for miles.  I set the recorder in my case and knelt on the ground to record.

During this improvisation I created puckish sounds on the horn, selecting tones that had a ringing quality when articulated short against one another.   I indeterminately selected pitches to create these melodies, and as the improvisation evolved I began threading the pitches together.  I used a new technique to do this, lowering my jaw considerably while using a great amount of back pressure.  I held my tongue against the reed and used my air while cupping the back of my tongue against the reed to create pops of sound.  I was surprised to hear the sustain between the percussive pops and smears. 


The image “Ram’s Head” by Georgia O’Keeffe