One of our favorite books about improvising is Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. It’s one of those enduring books that you can open randomly and find something useful or compelling…like this, which we found just now:
“…Sometimes we damn the limits, but without them art is not possible. They provide us with something to work with and against. In practicing our craft we surrender, to a great extent, to letting the materials dictate the design…”
Among the many jacket quotes praising the book is one by Keith Jarrett, the jazz pianist known for his astonishing improvisational work the Koln Concert. In four sentences, he totally nails what improvising is:
“You are called to an important meeting, the subject of which you are not told. It is of utmost importance that you ‘Be Yourself’. The meeting starts immediately and your clothes are in the laundry and you have no time to wash up or shave. Is this a ‘serious’ situation? Then so is improvisation…”
And that is what The Koln Concert was. In the video, Jarrett describes the impossible circumstances that made for a stunning creation.
That’s what Free Play is about.
We view them as an essential part of our toolBox.
(You can listen to samples of The Koln Concert, and/or buy it as an MP3, here.)