Among the best improvisatory music and compositions for improvisers I have heard over the last 35 years: evocative, introspective, inspiring and refreshing at a time when I thought I had already heard it all.
Dr John Whiteoak (music scholar and author of “Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia, 1836–1970”)
In the distance we see an indistinct building – is it boarded up, or was that perhaps a flickering light or a curtain being quickly drawn?
C. J. Dennis’ 1917 satirical poem The Glugs of Gosh eerily predicted some of the greed and political ignorance that surrounds us today. In this musical version, a violin imitates the lines of the poem, interrupted by an amplified cello improvising on some of D. J. Trump’s well known statements (“I know words...I have the best words”). The vocabulary, repetition and tone of these two original voices combine to form a surprising musical poetry.
image: Chris Tse
Sorgenbrecher Bar in Hamburg St. Pauli is a popular spot for artists, musicians and other bohemians. In a haze of conflicting hallucinogens, one such musician ended up there late one night to drown various sorrows. Amid the calm hysteria inside, he hears the sound of a single, callow trombone. “Oh, that’s one of Henry’s tapes; I think it’s Freddie Freeloader slowed to half-speed”.
The first room is dark but the echoes suggest it must be a large ballroom of some sort. Down the end of the passage is a mirror room, and even our whispered voices reflect sharply off the walls and floor. Upstairs is the library with books and newspaper cuttings piled to the ceiling. Opposite that is a curious collection of gramophones and reel-to-reel tape players running simultaneously…
“Any reading of these [open] works is an improvisation; one moves through the work not in straight lines but in curves, swirls, and across intersections, to words that catch the eye or attract attention repeatedly.”
Lyn Hejinian quoted in “The Material of Poetry” by Gerald Bruns