jesse stacken
   pianist • composer
 

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Daily Improvisation

July 22, 2014:
Unfortunately, I've had to take the mp3 files down, or else pay a lot of money to set up a private server for them.  So I chose to take them down.  But I'll leave the page as is so you can see what it was, and the two youtube videos will remain.  Thanks to all of you who listened to these in the past.  



"The coolest artist page in the history of the internet." -Dave Sumner (All About Jazz, Bird is the Worm, etc.)

May 4th marks one year since beginning the daily improvisation project.   There are 359 improvisations here. According to my itunes playlist, there is 1.4 days of music, which doesn't include the two videos.  I missed seven days, all because of traveling, except for the May 7, 2010, which was at the beginning before I actually decided to make it a daily project.  The shortest improvisation is December 26, 2010 at 0:54, the longest is August 2, 2010 at 22:30.

This project has been a great experience all around.  I've learned a lot and it's been an important means of expression for me during the past year.  Although I am undoubtedly the only person on earth to have listened to all of these, I appreciate those of you who have checked in from time to time.  You listeners, even if you are only a potential listener, have been an important part of the project - mainly you have helped my concentration.  While the daily improvisation project is certainly self motivated, the sharing of it with you is what has kept it going.

The music has almost always come easily.  I never remember the feeling of not wanting to play.  Most of the time, the daily ritual of recording a solo improvisation has been a highlight of the day - a moment to set life's other necessities aside and just be a open musician, even if it is only for a few minutes.  

There have been a number of challenges - scheduling and the task of listening and uploading all the tracks. During the first few months, it was challenging to forget some of the improvisations that I liked.  However that has seemed to largely dissappear, and now I have been fine with exploring a certian texture or idea for several days in a row if it feels right.  Another problem has been that of influences.  Sometimes after hearing a pianist that I admire perform, I tend to imitate that person's ideas a little too directly.  Yes, this is part of the process for an artist, but quite often I am unsatisfied with those improvisations.  It gets better after a few days when I begin to blend those ideas with others. But that seems to me like an important part of the creative process.

Have I changed musically over the course of this project?  There have been some piano techniques that I have discovered and developed a bit which might be evident to the outside listener.  Other than that, I can't say that one would notice any significant difference in my playing.  However there have been some internal changes.  Most prominent is the feeling of musical freedom - the freedom to play and enjoy any sound.  This has been developing in me for my entire life, but during this project I have come to the state of mind in which I really enjoy listening to most sounds regardless of how dissonant or unmusical they may seem.  The exception to that may be sounds that are too loud.  

For the last month or so, I've been debating what to do now.  One year would be a natural time to end the project, but I've enjoyed the playing too much to simply stop.  I wouldn't miss uploading, however.  But without the sharing, the project would probably drown in the business of life.  Recently I've had some incridible experiences improvising with friends for long periods of time, and also listening to improvised music that goes on for a long time.   I've really enjoyed the state of mind those extended experiences have left me with.  So it has become time for me to begin a ritual of extended weekly improvisations.  I will miss the practice of recording every day, but I look forward to this new experience.  I hope it will lead me in some new directions.  I feel a touch of sadness that the daily improvisation project is ending; perhaps I will spend a year listening to all of them sometime.  For now, onto longer explorations I go... Here is the weekly improvisation page.


May 4, 2011 Brooklyn (6:20)
May 3, 2011 Brooklyn (3:09)
May 2, 2011 Brooklyn (5:03)
May 1, 2011 Brooklyn (4:30)

April 30, 2011 Manhattan (7:40)
April 29, 2011 Brooklyn (2:36)
April 28, 2011 Brooklyn (8:34)
April 27, 2011 Brooklyn (2:07)
April 26, 2011 Brooklyn (5:13)
April 25, 2011 Brooklyn (5:39)
April 24, 2011 Brooklyn (2:49)
April 23, 2011 Brooklyn (5:27)
April 22, 2011 Brooklyn (6:49)
April 21, 2011 Brooklyn (3:34)
April 20, 2011 Brooklyn (6:41)
April 19, 2011 Brooklyn (6:31)
April 18, 2011 Brooklyn (6:45)
April 17, 2011 Brooklyn (5:43)
April 16, 2011 Manhattan (3:45)
April 15, 2011 Manhattan (6:26)
April 14, 2011 Brooklyn (5:06)
April 13, 2011 Brooklyn (3:48)
April 12, 2011 Brooklyn (6:38)
April 11, 2011 Brooklyn (4:19)
April 10, 2011 Brooklyn (6:34)
April 9, 2011 Manhattan (4:00)
April 8, 2011 Brooklyn (6:15)
April 7, 2011 Brooklyn (5:39)
April 6, 2011 Brooklyn (6:48)
April 5, 2011 Brooklyn (3:27)
April 4, 2011 Brooklyn (6:35)
April 3, 2011 Brooklyn (7:08)
April 2, 2011 Manhattan (5:32)
April 1, 2011 Brooklyn (4:27)

March 31, 2011 Brooklyn (3:14)
March 30, 2011 Brooklyn (6:49)
March 29, 2011 Brooklyn (2:55)
March 28, 2011 Brooklyn (9:52)
March 27, 2011 Brooklyn (6:57)
March 26, 2011 Manhattan (3:00)
March 25, 2011 Brooklyn (7:25)
March 24, 2011 Brooklyn (5:37)
March 23, 2011 Brooklyn (4:22)
March 22, 2011 Brooklyn (4:08)
March 21, 2011 Brooklyn (8:39)
March 20, 2011 Brooklyn (3:44)
March 19, 2011 Manhattan (5:00)
March 18, 2011 Brooklyn (3:58)
March 17, 2011 Brooklyn (3:16)
March 16, 2011 Brooklyn (2:49)
March 15, 2011 Brooklyn (11:46)
March 14, 2011 Brooklyn (4:51)
March 13, 2011 Brooklyn (4:03)
March 12, 2011 Manhattan (8:11)
March 11, 2011 Brooklyn (4:05)
March 10, 2011 Brooklyn (7:11)
March 9, 2011 Brooklyn (9:22)
March 8, 2011 Brooklyn (6:39)
March 7, 2011 Brooklyn (7:28)
March 6, 2011 Brooklyn (4:17)
March 5, 2011 Manhattan (8:54)
March 4, 2011 Brooklyn (4:28)
March 3, 2011 Brooklyn (5:10)
March 2, 2011 Brooklyn (4:51)
March 1, 2011 Brooklyn (6:18)

February 28, 2011 Brooklyn (4:47)
February 27, 2011 Brooklyn (8:50)
February 26, 2011 Manhattan (10:02)
February 25, 2011 Brooklyn (2:03)
February 24, 2011 Brooklyn (5:57)
February 23, 2011 Brooklyn (5:53)
February 22, 2011 Brooklyn (8:36)
February 21, 2011 Brooklyn (4:32)
February 20, 2011 Brooklyn (4:26)
February 19, 2011 Manhattan (7:23)
February 18, 2011 Brooklyn (12:06)
February 17, 2011 Brooklyn (5:54)
February 16, 2011 Brooklyn (12:34)
February 15, 2011 Brooklyn (2:45)
February 14, 2011 Brooklyn (7:24)
February 13, 2011 Brooklyn (6:13)
February 12, 2011 Manhattan (5:36)
February 11, 2011 Brooklyn (2:16)
February 10, 2011 Brooklyn (3:31)
February 9, 2011 Brooklyn (4:43)
February 8, 2011 Brooklyn (5:20)
February 7, 2011 Brooklyn (3:11)
February 6, 2011 Brooklyn (1:23)
February 5, 2011 Brooklyn (3:08)
February 4, 2011 Brooklyn (6:09)
February 3, 2011 Brooklyn (2:36)
February 2, 2011 Brooklyn (15:03)
February 1, 2011 Brooklyn (4:09)

January 31, 2011 Brooklyn (5:37)
January 30, 2011 Brooklyn (7:02)
January 29, 2011 Manhattan (7:11)
January 28, 2011 Brooklyn (5:07)
January 27, 2011 Brooklyn (7:17)
January 26, 2011 Brooklyn (7:45)
January 25, 2011 Brooklyn (4:43)
January 24, 2011 Brooklyn (7:25)
January 23, 2011 Brooklyn (4:30)
January 22, 2011 Brooklyn (4:58)
January 21, 2011 Brooklyn (4:14)
January 20, 2011 Brooklyn (5:31)
January 19, 2011 Brooklyn (4:46)
January 18, 2011 Brooklyn (5:33)
January 17, 2011 Brooklyn (3:51)
January 16, 2011 Brooklyn (5:08)
January 15, 2011 Manhattan (9:16)
January 14, 2011 Brooklyn (5:51)
January 13, 2011 Brooklyn (5:51)
January 12, 2011 Brooklyn (6:50)
January 11, 2011 Brooklyn (4:38)
January 10, 2011 Brooklyn (3:28)
January 9, 2011 Brooklyn (4:00)
January 8, 2011 Manhattan (3:32)
January 7, 2011 Brooklyn (5:43)
January 6, 2011 Brooklyn (3:52)
January 5, 2011 Brooklyn (3:48)
January 4, 2011 Brooklyn (5:13)
January 3, 2011 Brooklyn (5:05)
January 2, 2011 Brooklyn (3:44)
January 1, 2011 Brooklyn (3:18)

December 31, 2010 Hopkins (2:21)
December 30, 2010 Hopkins (3:05)
December 29, 2010 Hopkins (2:34)
December 28, 2010 Hopkins (6:27)
December 27, 2010 Hopkins (4:04)
December 26, 2010 Hopkins (0:54)
December 25, 2010 Hopkins (2:17)
December 24, 2010 Hopkins (3:42)
December 23, 2010 Brooklyn (3:29)
December 22, 2010 Brooklyn (7:52)
December 21, 2010 Brooklyn (6:48)
December 20, 2010 Brooklyn (8:04)
December 19, 2010 Brooklyn (12:26)
December 18, 2010 Manhattan (2:40)
December 17, 2010 Manhattan (7:34)
December 16, 2010 Brooklyn (5:09)
December 15, 2010 Brooklyn (3:40)
December 14, 2010 Brooklyn (6:18)
December 13, 2010 Manhattan (1:37)
December 12, 2010 Brooklyn (4:27)
December 11, 2010 Manhattan (4:13)
December 10, 2010 Brooklyn (4:21)
December 9, 2010 Brooklyn (5:20)
December 8, 2010 Brooklyn (4:34)
December 7, 2010 Brooklyn (3:41)
December 6, 2010 Manhattan (4:21)
December 5, 2010 Brooklyn (4:23)
December 4, 2010 Brooklyn (3:48)
December 3, 2010 Brooklyn (2:19)
December 2, 2010 Brooklyn (5:09)
December 1, 2010 Brooklyn (5:43)

November 30, 2010 Brooklyn (9:32)
November 29, 2010 Brooklyn (6:09)
November 28, 2010 Brooklyn (2:02)
November 27, 2010 Brooklyn (5:32)
November 26, 2010 Brooklyn (4:13)
November 25, 2010 Brooklyn (5:09)
November 24, 2010 Brooklyn (4:31)
November 23, 2010 Brooklyn (4:05)
November 22, 2010 Brooklyn (4:07)
November 21, 2010 Brooklyn (4:16)
November 20, 2010 Manhattan (4:15)
November 19, 2010 Brooklyn (5:32)
November 18, 2010 Brooklyn (3:12)
November 17, 2010 Brooklyn (6:29)
November 16, 2010 Brooklyn (6:51)
November 15, 2010 Brooklyn (3:44)
November 14, 2010 Brooklyn (3:52)
November 13, 2010 Manhattan (6:11)
November 12, 2010 Brooklyn (4:10)
November 11, 2010 Brooklyn (3:32)
November 10, 2010 Brooklyn (7:04)
November 9, 2010 Brooklyn (6:51)
November 8, 2010 Brooklyn (6:54)
November 7, 2010 Brooklyn (3:52)
November 6, 2010 Brooklyn (1:32)
November 5, 2010 Brooklyn (9:11)
November 4, 2010 Brooklyn (6:44)
November 3, 2010 Brooklyn (4:53)
November 2, 2010 Brooklyn (8:19)
November 1, 2010 Brooklyn (5:36)

October 31. 2010 Brooklyn (5:13)
October 30, 2010 Manhattan (1:54)
October 29, 2010 Brooklyn (3:06)
October 28, 2010 Brooklyn (7:42) Dedicated to my niece Adele Celia Stacken, born October 27, 2010
October 27, 2010 Brooklyn (5:58)
October 26, 2010 Brooklyn (3:52)
October 25, 2010 Brooklyn (4:42)
October 24, 2010 Brooklyn (4:56)
October 23, 2010 Manhattan (3:04)
October 22, 2010 Brooklyn (4:45)
October 21, 2010 Brooklyn (3:01)
October 20, 2010 Brooklyn (5:22)
October 19, 2010 Brooklyn (4:45)
October 18, 2010 Brooklyn (5:02)
October 17, 2010 Brooklyn (7:11)
October 16, 2010 Brooklyn (2:47)
October 15, 2010 Brooklyn (3:58)
October 14, 2010 Brooklyn (6:53)
October 13, 2010 Brooklyn (6:08)
October 12, 2010 Brooklyn (3:47)
October 11, 2010 Brooklyn (2:45)
October 10, 2010 Brooklyn (3:05)
October 9, 2010 Manhattan (3:00)
October 8, 2010 Brooklyn (7:26)
October 7, 2010 Brooklyn (10:19)
October 6, 2010 Brooklyn (3:46)
October 5, 2010 Brooklyn (6:07)
October 4, 2010 Brooklyn (7:48)
October 3, 2010 Brooklyn (9:02)
October 2, 2010 Manhattan (6:17)
October 1, 2010 Brooklyn (5:53)

September 30, 2010 Brooklyn (6:27)
September 29, 2010 Brooklyn (5:10)
September 28, 2010 Brooklyn (4:00)
September 27, 2010 Brooklyn (5:51 Video)
September 26, 2010 Brooklyn (1:31)
September 25, 2010 Manhattan (3:53)
September 24, 2010 Brooklyn (4:29)
September 23, 2010 Brooklyn (8:07)
September 22, 2010 Brooklyn (6:46)
September 21, 2010 Brooklyn (2:18)
September 20, 2010 Brooklyn (6:29)
September 19, 2010 Brooklyn (5:36)
September 18, 2010 Manhattan (4:14)
September 17, 2010 Brooklyn (4:58)
September 16, 2010 Brooklyn (5:42)
September 15, 2010 Brooklyn (5:13)
September 14, 2010 Brooklyn (5:58)
September 13, 2010 Brooklyn (6:10)
September 12, 2010 Brooklyn (3:11)
September 11, 2010 Brooklyn (3:27)
September 10, 2010 Brooklyn (8:00)
September 9, 2010 Brooklyn (4:20)
September 8, 2010 Brooklyn (4:47)
September 7, 2010 Brooklyn (5:49)
September 6, 2010 Brooklyn (3:01)
September 5, 2010 Brooklyn (6:03)
September 4, 2010 Brooklyn (4:24)
September 3, 2010 Brooklyn (5:46)
September 2, 2010 Brooklyn (2:11)
September 1, 2010 Brooklyn (8:49)

August 31, 2010 Brooklyn (3:50)
August 30, 2010 Brooklyn (5:47)
August 29, 2010 Brooklyn (3:47)
August 28, 2010 No Improvisation Recorded
August 27, 2010 Brooklyn (4:03)
August 26, 2010 Brooklyn (4:07)
August 25, 2010 Brooklyn (5:39)
August 24, 2010 Brooklyn (5:08)
August 23, 2010 Brooklyn (9:27)
August 22, 2010 Brooklyn (12:52)
August 21, 2010 Brooklyn (8:11)
August 20, 2010 Brooklyn (6:55)
August 19, 2010 Denver (3:41)
August 18, 2010 Denver (3:12)
August 17, 2010 No Improvisation Recorded
August 16, 2010 Denver (2:45)
August 15, 2010 Denver (6:48)
August 14, 2010 Hopkins (4:55)
August 13, 2010 Hopkins (3:04)
August 12, 2010 Hopkins (2:45)
August 11, 2010 Hopkins (6:48)
August 10, 2010 Hopkins (4:55)
August 9, 2010 Brooklyn (4:41)
August 8, 2010 Brooklyn (7:36)
August 7, 2010 Brooklyn (3:44)
August 6, 2010 Brooklyn (8:23)
August 5, 2010 Brooklyn (13:33)
August 4, 2010 Brooklyn (7:29)
August 3, 2010 Brooklyn (7:51)
August 2, 2010 Brooklyn (22:30)
August 1, 2010 Brooklyn (9:29)

July 31, 2010 Brooklyn (9:02)
July 30, 2010 Brooklyn (3:17)
July 29, 2010 Brooklyn (8:27)
July 28, 2010 Brooklyn (13:15)
July 27, 2010 Brooklyn (7:40)
July 26, 2010 Brooklyn (12:42)
July 25, 2010 Brooklyn (4:24)
July 24, 2010 Brooklyn (6:41)
July 23, 2010 Brooklyn (9:48)
July 22, 2010 Brooklyn (7:21)

July 21, 2010: My brother Jake sent me an email last night with a lot of good questions about the Daily Improvisation Project. I enjoyed answering, and I thought that it would be nice to include the questions and responses here.

I've been catching up on your daily improvisations.  Here are some questions/comments: Do you think they reflect your mood and are affected by the environment? Undoubtedly to some extent.  But, for example, you had a very rapid one on May 10th.  Were you anxious or angry or frustrated?  Or happy?


Yes to both.  The nice thing about doing a free improvisation (with no predetermined structure or idea) is that I can do anything.  I could sit on the keys if I wanted to.  It would probably sound interesting.  The environment is incredibly influential, so is the particular piano.  And with this project I don't try to stop the environment from being a part of it.  I love it when a truck goes by or it starts to rain.  I try to react to it to those things.
I don't remember how I was feeling on May 10.  But at that early stage, I was probably thinking about making it contrasting from the previous improvs, which was not a good thing to do.  Now I'm getting to the point where I feel like I've started them in almost every way possible.  Of course that's not true, but that feeling is good and could be helpful in the long run.  It will force me into new ideas and new areas, and that's one of the purposes of the project - to grow as a player. 

And in Dublin, there were people talking on the first day and you were playing on an out-of-tune piano on the second day.  Do you think those are shorter because of those environments?

On the road it's often difficult to get a piano alone.  Doing these in public usually gives me a time limit.  The first one in Dublin was after our gig there - they were closing the club down.  The second one was in a music shop and I would have loved to make it longer because of how out of tune that piano was.  That was interesting.  But there were kids who wanted to try out guitars and I didn't really want the sales people to come ask me why I was recording in there.   Both the Dublin improvs were shorter because I didn't want to bother people. A lot of times on the road I try to sneak them in before or after the sound check, but that's difficult because the band is setting up, warming up, asking about dinner, then the club is opening and people are coming in.   

Do you try to let your emotions pass through to the piano unrestrained or do you try to concentrate on producing something?

Tough question.  I think yes to both.  Like I said before, the format makes it easy to put almost any emotion into it.  Ideally I am putting emotions through the piano and my technical ability allows me to do it freely, therefore I am unrestrained.  But sometimes some kind of restraint can be helpful in getting myself into a new area.  Those kind or restrictions usually come about during the middle of an improv - I might get into something and force myself to stay in there - only play a certain kind of texture or something in order to develop it more.
A lot of times I have an idea for the improv right as I sit down, or soon after I press the record button.  Sometimes I get an idea an hour earlier, but those ideas usually don't feel natural when I do actually sit down to record, so I try to ignore them.  I try to be in the moment.  It's all about the moment.  If I try to base what I play today on what I played yesterday, or what I played a week ago that I really loved, then I'm not being honest to the moment.  I should really forget about everything when I do these.  Sometimes a really good improv makes the next 4 or 5 more difficult.  For example, I really love May 23rd, and I'm still stuck on it.  Many times when I sit down now - two months later! - I'm still thinking about that May 23rd improv and how I can do another like that.  I really need to forget that one.
There are also improvs that happened the day after I heard a very influential pianist, and most of the time those are not honest and quite bad because I'm trying to directly emulate these great players.  That's not to say that influences are bad.  They're good, but they need to be combined and refined to one's own tastes, and one must first and foremost listen to his or her own unique voice.        

I like June 28th.  You played the strings.  Was that because it was your birthday and you were jovial and feeling youthful?  Is playing the strings okay for the piano; you know the oils on your hand and all?  I guess you play the strings at other times too.

Thanks.  I don't remember how I was feeling on June 28th.  I actually didn't play the inside of the piano on that day . Were you listening to a different one?  I heard once that the oils on one's hand can corrode the strings.  But I don't care - if that happens I'll get new strings - I think it would take a long time for them to wear out anyway.  I do make sure my hands are clean.  Playing the inside of the piano allows me more sounds, more musical colors.

I am really drawn to the background noises.  Did I hear Minnie shake on May 18th and bark on May 28th?  May 30th is cool.  I like June 9th.

Thanks.  I'm drawn to the background noises too.  Not so much on listening back, but during recording.  Yes, Minnie sounds are in quite a few of them.  One time I was recording with the mic on the floor and one can hear her sniffing the mic for a second. 

You could probably just pull some of these and make a dang record, you know?

Well, I don't think I'm happy enough with the recording quality to release these on record.  But perhaps they will result in a record - maybe they are preparation to go into a studio at some point.  It would be really easy to make a solo piano improvised record - at least I think it would be - financially and logistically.  I've been thinking about it.

We've been putting stuff on the Internet about our house (www.liznewberg.com/waldrand).  "Why?" I ask myself.  "I guess to share our experience," I answer myself.  Why do you post these improvisations on the Internet?  You could just record them and explore them yourself.  On that note, why do you play the music you play?  Is it to please yourself, to make millions of people happy, to make money?  Do you react musically if someone says they like something you play?  I ask because I am curious about your motives and about how the Internet has inspired people to spend lots of time sharing all sorts of happy horseshit.  Maintaining a website is pretty consuming, I've learned.

The internet is a very nice thing for artists because it makes it really easy for us to share our work.  It's basically a very cheap publisher that will put out anything you want.  I post these improvs for the reason of sharing.  Putting it out there.  Expressing myself.  Recording them and knowing that I'm going to publish them helps my concentration.  It helps me to try my best and to be present.  It would be useful for me to record and listen privately, but I think knowing that I'm going to publish them brings the level up.  I'm sure nobody has listened to all of them, and maybe no one ever will, but publishing them gives me the feeling of communicating to an audience - and that audience happens to be there whenever I need it do be.  Why do I play the music I play?  Because I love it.  I don't care about money - if I did I wouldn't be playing this kind of music.  I don't expect this music to make millions of people happy, but communicating to and audience is part of it.  I want to feel like I'm telling some kind of story or expressing some kind of feeling.  It doesn't matter if the emotion that I'm putting into it is different than the emotion that a listener feels.  To me music expresses the inexpressible most of the time anyway.   I do it to make myself happy.  I guess it's a kind of selfish endeavor, but also I think it does contribute to culture.  It's valuable to society.  I'm not sure if anyone will look back on my music and think that it was very important, or very special, but I do think the community that I belong to here will be remembered.  People will look back on the early 21st century Brooklyn musicians and see that we were onto something special and unique.  I have this feeling because of how influential we all are on each other.  The music sounds different other places.  There seems to be a unique Brooklyn avant-garde jazz (I hate those terms, but what can I do?).  I hope that I am contributing to that, steering things in my own direction a bit.
I try not to let the feedback of others affect me too much, especially when it comes to musical content.  I just have to do what I think is right in my heart regardless of what others want me to do.   When I get positive feedback, it tells me to stick to my path and keep doing what I feel needs to be done.

July 21. 2010 Brooklyn (7:20)
July 20, 2010 Brooklyn (10:11)
July 19, 2010 Brooklyn (9:39)
July 18, 2010 Brooklyn (3:41)
July 17, 2010 Brooklyn (6:23)
July 16, 2010 Brooklyn (7:22)
July 15, 2010 St. John's (3:57)
July 14, 2010 Halifax (7:36)
July 13, 2010 Halifax (6:44)
July 12, 2010 Halifax (5:37)
July 11, 2010 No Improvisation Recorded
July 10, 2010 Montreal (2:48)
July 9, 2010 Toronto (4:06)
July 8, 2010 No Improvisation Recorded
July 7, 2010 Ottawa (3:18)
July 6, 2010 No Improvisation Recroded
July 5, 2010 No Improvisation Recorded
July 4, 2010 Vancouver (6:22)
July 3, 2010 Calgary (1:12)
July 2, 2010 Edmonton (3:32)
July 1, 2010 Edmonton (5:04)

June 30, 2010 Brooklyn (2:54)
June 29, 2010 Brooklyn (9:02)
June 28, 2010 Manhattan (3:31)
June 27, 2010 Brooklyn (5:23)
June 26, 2010 Manhattan (6:07)
June 25, 2010 Brooklyn (6:51)
June 24, 2010 Brooklyn (8:06)
June 23, 2010 Brooklyn (6:16)
June 22, 2010 Brooklyn (12:09)
June 21, 2010 Brooklyn (8:16)
June 20, 2010 Brooklyn (15:13)
June 19, 2010 Brooklyn (4:51)
June 18, 2010 Brooklyn (5:54)
June 17, 2010 Brooklyn (9:17)
June 16, 2010 Manhattan (4:04)
June 15, 2010 Brooklyn (9:10)
June 14, 2010 Manhattan (7:00)
June 13, 2010 Hopkins, MN (3:48)
June 12, 2010 Hopkins, MN (2:19)
June 11, 2010 Brooklyn (5:47)
June 10, 2010 Brooklyn (8:38)
June 9, 2010 Brooklyn (16:03)
June 8, 2010 Brooklyn (9:06)
June 7, 2010 Brooklyn (13:04)
June 6, 2010 Brooklyn (8:13)
June 5, 2010 Manhattan (12:56)
June 4, 2010 Brooklyn (12:44)
June 3, 2010 Brooklyn (5:42)
June 2, 2010 Brooklyn (8:07)
June 1, 2010 Brooklyn (4:30 Video)


Shortly before I began this daily improvisation project, I began a daily zazen practice. Zazen is a style of meditation from Zen Buddhism in which one sits in a specific posture and observes the breath and the mind. I find this practice to have a lot in common with the improvisation project. Both are done best when the mind is in the present.
I am pleased with this project. It's nice how this format is open. It seems that most influences in my life can easily be assimilated into a solo piano piece. June 1, 2010

May 31, 2010 Brooklyn (2:05)
May 30, 2010 Brooklyn (8:49)
May 29, 2010 Brooklyn (7:49)
May 28, 2010 Brooklyn (7:23)
May 27, 2010 Brooklyn (7:51)
May 26, 2010 Brooklyn (7:17)
May 25, 2010 Brooklyn (3:57)
May 24, 2010 Brooklyn (8:13)
May 23, 2010 Brooklyn (15:17)
May 22, 2010 Brooklyn (6:19)
May 21, 2010 Brooklyn (6:54)
May 20, 2010 Brooklyn (6:53)
May 19, 2010 Manhattan (2:04)

Am I playing the same piece over and over again? It's difficult to tell when there is a day between each improvisation. I would try harder to make them different from each other if I were to do these all in one day. So perhaps it is better this way. Perhaps it would be even more revealing if I were to do one a week instead, or one a month, or one a year, those being the only solo improvisations I'd allow myself. Certainly I explore similar concepts again and again. This is okay I think. There seems to be moments or whole pieces during which I felt like I was communicating better. I think this is due to my surroundings and my health. However, some of the less inspired moments turn out the best on listening, not sounding uninspired at all. May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010 Brooklyn (17:01)
May 17, 2010 Dublin (1:44)
May 16, 2010 Dublin (2:46)
May 15, 2010 Geneva (14:33)
May 14, 2010 Geneva (1:43)
May 13, 2010 Brooklyn (4:48)
May 12, 2010 Manhattan (6:28)
May 11, 2010 Brooklyn (8:57)
May 10, 2010 Manhattan (2:50)

This project is an examination of my artistic process of solo improvisation, whatever that may be. I hope to find out more about it through this project. I intend to record one solo piano improvisation each day, and share it on this page. There will be no time limitations, aside from my daily schedule. I will play for as short or long a time as feels right. I will listen to each improvisation that I post at least one time. I will attempt to not be judgemental about the recordings, practicing acceptance. Recordings during which I felt uninspired will not be withheld. Hopefully I will discover things about myself, musical and otherwise, simply by doing this at least once a day. I will try to post once a week. Undoubtedly there will be days when recording an improvisation will be impossible, and they will be noted here. May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010 Brooklyn (8:32)
May 8, 2010 Manhattan (9:30)
May 7, 2010 No improvisation recorded
May 6, 2010 Brooklyn (12:21)
May 5, 2010 Brooklyn (1:23)
May 4, 2010 Brooklyn (11:31)