07/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 202)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 202

Date: 07/21/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: A trailside clearing in Ravenna Park.  Seattle, WA


I spent the day on the mainland teaching, rehearsing, and playing.  On Sunday’s I generally feel fueled by the energy of the city and look forward to participating in it, but today I felt swallowed up by the pace of it.  Several hours of my day were spent commuting by car and bus, and my improvisation was a sound reflection of over 100 miles of city and suburb commuting, a beautiful sky overhead, piles of trash, friendly strangers and endless lines of houses.  I decided to record in Ravenna Park, which is a wonderful wooded space located in Seattle’s University district.  I set up the mic next to a babbling creek on the edge of a walking trail.  Airplanes occasionally flew overhead, trucks drove by, couples walked and talked with one another in the distance and birds sang overhead.

During this improvisation I explored tiny sound clusters without any melodic center.  I tried to let tones  within the clusters naturally poke out with more presence than the others to help further this feeling of instability. I bound the small, nondescript points of action together with swooping floods of air to carefully swell the volume.  I thought about creating extreme dynamics below a very low ceiling of volume.  A point of interest to me lately in my practicing, it trying to explore the furthest limits of an idea, in this case volume, when the limits themselves are very restrictive compared to what is actually possible on the instrument.  I find that with such a low ceiling for volume, I feel liberated to explore the quietest of figures up to simply “lower volume” figures and experience very clear definition between them.


The image “Sade for Sade’s sake” accompanying today’s post by Paul Chan (2009)