Improv and Me

I've never openly discussed this, because I didn't think it needed to be, but recently since I moved to London I've met and bonded with an incredible group of like-minded free improvisers; free in spirit, mind and most importantly expression of their craft and they have asked me a few times why someone who has had a good career in the mainstream music business would so doggedly and determinedly pursue such a small, isolated and distinct segment of music. First of all, I'm an endlessly curious boy and I'm always looking to learn something new and challenge myself.  But mostly I think it all goes back to high school. You see, my high school actually had the audacity to have an electronic music department that spurred my initial passion and set the wheels in motion. Further, I wasn't the only one in my group fascinated by the experiments of guitarist Robert Fripp and his tape loop endeavors. Add a healthy dose of prog rock and jazz and you're a goner. At least I was. 

So though I've been immersed in the "commercial" music biz for these last 25 years and I'm extremely happy with my path there was something missing. So back in 2010 while I was waiting for the book proofs of "I Curse the River of Time" which ended up taking almost 9 months, I decided to fill my days with reconnecting with the passions of my youth. They were calling me (and had been for some time actually). You can hear snatches of it if you listen closely enough to a couple of my records from that time. I started chasing my dream as they say and had the crazy determination to start cold calling some truly wonderful and accomplished jazz, avant-garde, free jazz and free improvisers and threw myself in. It was quite easy actually. Almost everybody said yes (only one didn't) and I've made true friends for life in Cooper Moore, Thollem McDonas, Tracy Silverman, the great Giuseppi Logan, Jeff Lederer, Frode Gjerstad, Jessica Lurie and many others. It has been the most fulfilling time of my life and there's no going back. 

I don't want to play the same thing anymore. Hell, I don't even ever want to play the same thing twice. Why? What's the purpose of repeating yourself except for someone else's gratification or consumption? I want to explore new horizons with each new sound, touch, tone, space, time...I want to be surprised every time I touch an instrument, electronic device or a piece of wood. 

I know even some of my Nashville friends think I'm nuts but I'm the happiest I've ever been since moving to London and the scene here is second to none. Really strong and vital. Besides, I have 5 singer-songwriter/band albums in the can. They will come out in good time so I'm not completely abandoning anything but now it's time for me and my soul. It will make me a better person and musician. I hope some of you will enjoy the process and come along for the ride. Cheers!

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