Nailing a Banana

I conducted nine interviews with experienced improvisers from the Bay Area during my stay as artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in September and October of 2017. The transcriptions of the interviews were released here; this audio play was subsequently built from the recordings of our talks, along with the music my colleagues and I played during those studio visits.

Listening to an improvisation requires a different sort of focus than listening to composed music. With composed music, an analysis of the written sounds can offer a deeper view and knowledge of the ideas underlying the composer’s work, but with improvisation, such an analysis does not necessarily lead to any conclusions. The ink with which improvised music is written is the live interaction of the players; making and “reading” it is, like the title of this work, a slippery and delicate endeavor.

The musicians:

  • Chris Brown (piano)
  • Tom Djll (trumpet, objects)
  • Phillip Greenlief (saxophone)
  • Carl Ludwig Hübsch (tuba)
  • Aurora Josephson (voice)
  • Scott R. Looney (piano, steel guitar)
  • Lisa Mezzacappa (double bass)
  • Tim Perkis (electronics)
  • Gino Robair (percussion, electronics)
  • Karen Stackpole (percussion)
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