Freestyle Piano Solo Improvisations
Classical - Jazz - NewAge - Fusion Piano
(Pick your own category.)
Embrace the Noodle
(What IS noodling?)
|The first time through, I didn't really know what I was listening to. The second time, I paid attention, and ... You've got some serious chops. I was blown away.
This was a great compliment, and speaks to "expectations." The casual listener wants background music. That is, after all, what much of music has become - the background of our lives, emotional snippets associated with moments. Music that demands focus from the listener is too much effort. Give it a few seconds to allow categorization, then move on.
Sorry, but that doesn't work with my stuff. The first few seconds may give a false impression. This is not the perfect three minutes and forty seconds of one-dimensional concept. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I think... I hope... I believe that my "noodles" are a bit meatier, a bit more involved than that.
|tracks (complete recordings)
(Obviously, I would prefer that you download the MP3s and listen using headphones, but please use the Player to preview the tracks - especially if you have decent computer speakers.)
||noodle prime... First attempt at recording an upright piano, and levels are off - lots of clipping. Still, as pure improv, I think this is a wonderful example of my style. While it has merit, I consider it too "tentative" and restrained, but an interesting exploration of the opening 9-note sequence. This snippet was stuck in my brain, so I let it out for some air. The sequence is repeated several times, with a different bass underpinning each time, and then leads to an exploration of the theme for the first 3:30. After that, noodle prime goes off in a completely different direction.
This was my first attempt under the microphones, so I excuse myself. I also cringe when I hear myself losing it toward the end. Nice save, though! Mics were pointed through the open top of the piano. Upon repeated listening, I surprise myself. (April 20, 2007)
|noodle the second
||Noodle the 2nd is another slow-starter, but in a much more melodic and chordal vein. I really enjoy where this one leads, especially in the second half rhythm section, where the dubious recording technique lends a calliopic sound to the upright. Top of the piano was closed, and mics were backed off a foot or so. Picked up the click of the pedals throughout the piece. Some consider this the best so far, certainly the longest!
(April 20, 2007)
||3rd Noodle is definitely for headphones. This one involves a looong development, while I play with the pedals and sustained notes. Listen late at night in a darkened room, and focus on the almost droning quality of the constant low A in the bass. The second half features a staccato underpinning that came about during sound checks and was incorporated here. This is purely for fun, as an obnoxiously-popular-music-sounding riff is banged out above the metronomic background. Listen for the popping banjo sound toward the end. Mics were back inside the top of the piano for this one, with recording levels backed off a bit.
(April 22, 2007)
||chorale (formerly typinoodle) is what you'd hear if you were at my house. This is true noodling, a sort of waiting-for-inspiration that may or may not come. Excuse the larger file size - I set this one at a higher bit-rate. Call it "Variations on an Original Hymn." Again, mics are pointing inside the open top of the piano, with mixer levels set a tad better.
(May 6, 2007)
|slop piano 1
||slop piano I is a 6-minute development of strict rhythm over a bass riff in the left hand. A simple three-chord structure (with occasional exceptions), and just a bit of self-indulgence. This is what most folks call bangin' on the keys.
(May 22, 2007)
|slop piano 2
||Don't let the arpeggiated opening fool you, this is another example of slop piano, an uptempo three-bar antiblues, my own version of a warm-up exercise. One minute of noodling before climbing into the riff. Don't give up on it too early, it gets better as it goes along.
|Quiet morning & Interlude
||A two-fer on a quiet early morning. Arpeggiated chords in the left hand, very mild and mellow. Followed by a brief cleansing of the pallette. Dare I say, Satiesque? Or is it just "New Age"?
||Originally called sappy noodle, I've picked this one to close out the album on a high note. One of my favorite melodic lines sneaks in here. Picking up speed.
(May 28, 2007)
|Two Chord Meditation
||Another mild and mellow, a simple exploration of two basic chords. A short exploration, at that, but one of my personal favorites.
(June 3, 2007)
||trudgery is an example of "forcing it", when inspiration doesn't arrive with my fingers on the keys. This is what I play when I "ain't got nothin'." Sitting and staring at the keyboard, I banged out an octave on A, and from that simple beginning came this beautiful (if a bit melancholy) little piece. I really like this one.
(June 5, 2007)
|Three Chord Meditation
||This session - exactly six minutes - was recorded with the front panel of the piano removed for a cleaner sound. Based primarily on three chords, this ramble features some very tasty two-handed runs. It builds to a peak just before the end.
(June 16, 2007)
||rainy day meanderings - A change of pace in a bittersweet melancholy. A simple, ultra-melodic noodling on a rainy Sunday morning. Rambling right hand over an oh-so-slow chord pattern in the left, returning always to a central G Major safe zone.
Mindless, seemingly random picking away at the keys. Akin to doodling for artists, noodling wanders around the keys looking for a hook.
To be clear: when I sit down to play, there is no sheet music, no preconceived lines; what comes out comes out. While purely improvisational in nature, the music is shaped to resemble a "finished" work. You'll understand, I hope, when I get lost in the music and find myself restarting.
If the music, at first, sounds like classical piano, that's my training. As a Gemini myself, I enjoy the duality of the piano and forte, classical and rock/jazz rhythms, slow and fast. And as a classically trained musician, I marvelled at those who can take a note or two and fill an entire evening, and aspired to gain this ability.
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