07/22/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 203)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 203

Date: 07/22/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


In my improvisation today, I explored the concept of moving forward through the lens of our own experience.  As an improvisor I draw from the well of my own knowledge and those around me.  Every day I’m so encouraged by the thought that for every bit I draw from myself my knowledge becomes replaced ten fold by life experience.  In relation to my improvisation today, I wanted to encounter my own work in real time from a place of acceptance, and allow the piece to push forward at all times.  I tried not to second guess in any way my thought process while playing, and to use this bit of ego to help fuel the decisions that came in each new moment.  During this improvisation I didn’t have a starting or ending point in mind, but instead made it my goal to allow my thought process itself to point me towards something of a complete whole.  

From the initial sound that begins the piece, I was struck by the beautiful dissonance of the chord and the upper register Eb that spoke so much clearer than the other tones.  I then began a fingering system that exploited this high octave Eb, which created a recurring melodic action during the piece (pitches written in ascending order): G-Ab-Eb.  This became the dominant fingering action:

(Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E keys

With this sound color I began incorporating rhythmic cycles into the improvisation, as well as several small events.  These events would include a few seconds of focus within a particular register, sound clusters, shifts between octaves, extreme dynamic shaping, etc.  An additional action which became a recurring theme was the held multiphonic with accents on each beat.  This can be heard for the first time at 2:42.  This accented sound was created by taking away and then re-applying the octave key in time, using the central fingering notated above.


The image “Untitled (4 days, 3 nights, 1 sumer) accompanying today’s post by Joey Kotting (2001)