10/07/2014 (Solo Improvsiation documented in Missoula, MT)


Neil Welch, Continuous Resonance Project
Date: 10/07/2014
Location: A practice room at the University of Montana.  Missoula, MT
Instrument: Tenor saxophone


This improvisation was documented on the first day of my Bad Luck band, 31-day tour across the US.  Our first stop along this journey was a day long residency at the University of Missouri.  After our first clinic I found myself with a free hour of time and decided to practice in the school of music.  Immediately after I began playing I was struck with the absolutely unchanged dynamic of struggling to practice in a music building while being surrounded by other musicians.  There were conflicting sounds, moods, and textures all around me–a bassoon practicing an etude, a pianist playing some virtuosic repertoire, a trumpeter repeating a melodic figure over and over, and a saxophonist trying a 2-bar jazz phrase in all 12 keys.  There was a level of competition and ego that was just so palpable in the air.  I had not experienced this feeling since leaving college some 7 years ago, and it seems that this experience transcended time and location.

I improvised alongside my fellow musicians during this piece.  I tried to envision them as actual participants in a larger, collective improvisation we were working on together.  In a way I always felt that this was happening while practicing in such an environment during college.  We could all hear one another, and though we had our own end goals in mind there was no denying that the auditory interruptions influenced the way each of us practiced.