Dear blog readers,
Over the past month or so most of my creative energy has been occupied with a new project called 'Interleave'. International jazz heros Tony Dudley-Evans and Mary Wakelam of Jazzlines commissioned (with a lot of help from PRSF) two innovative electronic musicians- Annie Mahtani (laptop) and Shelly Knotts (laptop)- to create a new piece of music with four jazz musicians- Percy Pursglove (bs), Lluis Mather (sx/fl), Sam Wooster (tp) and myself (dr). After spending a lot of time messing around with interesting effects and soundscapes, working on collective improvisation as well as duos and trios, waiting for computers to do their job properly and drinking tea we are beginning to merge into a six-headed improvising monster that can create pretty much any sound imaginable.
I have found the project a real challenge. Free improvisation is something that I have always loved and I was fortunate enough to have lessons on it with the late master of the art Tony Levin, however it is not something that I have done a whole lot of until now. One thing I have noticed is that with the freedom that I have within the group I am coming up time and time again against restrictions. Restrictions in my technique at the kit and my dynamic control, my own inhibitions and confidence/ lack of it and my pre-conceived ideas about how free improvised music should sound.
When we first began playing together I found everything enjoyable and was relatively uninhibited with my playing. I was really into finding out what Annie and Shelly could do with their laptops and loved hearing how they could affect my sound and me theirs. I was also really psyched to get to play with Percy, Lluis and Sam as they are all amazing musicians. We had a lot of fun experimenting in duos/ trios with the computers and working on different textures as well as just getting used to how everyone played.
I've found the project continually more challenging as it has progressed.