12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 315
Instrument: Soprano saxophone
Location: The art studio on my wife’s family property. Burien, WA
This morning my wife and I drove back from Portland, OR and stopped off at her families house in Burien on our way home. Her parents have a small house on their property which her father uses as an art studio. The studio is a small, cabin-like environment with wood carvings, old radios, paintings and old family fixtures. We lived in this studio during a few points in our early marriage to save money, and I came to enjoy the simplicity of the room. It’s comfortable size made for easy practicing. This afternoon I snuck off to the art studio for a half hour or so and recorded today’s improvisation.
This piece used a very similar sound and textural approach to another 12 Moons improvisation recorded last summer in Anacortes, though this piece was far more aggressive. I played with a full-mouthed embouchure shape with my lips against the ligature. I centered the piece around a single fingering with some slight momentary key flicking with the High G altissimo side key, Side F, and G key in the left hand. This single fingering was as follows:
(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low Eb, Low C
I wanted to pull out a series of honking multiphonics with a natural grittiness that really only wanted to speak with a full flood of air, and the improper embouchure shape. During the improvisation my reed began to fracture on the upper left corner, and by the end a good chunk of the tip had been lost. This is very unusual, but was a result of the massive force of air being put into the instrument along with the slap tonguing. The fracturing of the reed happened slowly and I hadn’t noticed it until near the end of the piece. This opened up new sound territories in my air flow, which I explored with the full, open air column sounds that close the improvisation.
The image accompanying today’s post by Michael Rodriguez, on view at the Vertical Art Gallery, Chicago in May of 2013.