“I’m just trying to share my own way I look at music, with others.
“Everyone has the right to like what they like, not like what they don’t like, listen to the kind of music they want to, not listen to the kind of music they don’t like. Say what you like, say what you don’t like.
“And I want to encourage that in people. I want people, and musicians, to realize their own judgment and have them think for themselves about how they see art, especially. And trying to portray that and say that in various ways.
“So improvisation is a big interest, with a lot of musicians. So I have my own ideas about what it is, and I know there are an infinite number of other ideas, so I’m just throwing my own idea into the pot here. About ‘What is improvisation?’
CC: I though that was a good idea, because when people ask me – musicians ask me, they say, “Well, how about improvising? How do you improvise? What’s it all about? What do you do? What do you think about?” All these various questions. I think to myself, well you know, I’ve never seen a satisfactory definition of improvisation. So, I want to try to give you what my – what I think of when I think of improvisation, which is something natural. Something natural you do.
Improvising is living. Like, what I’m doing now is improvising. I have a thought in my head and I’m trying to get it out using the cumbersome medium of the english language. It’s really difficult. I mean I could go like this – [ plays a phrase ]. See that?
I don’t have to then try to say in words what that was because that was improvisation. But to try and define it in words, it’s the natural thing you do that you already decided that you’re going to do something and you’re going to make a movement. So with improvisation, the decision that – there are decisions that have to be made. What kind of freedoms and what kind of rules.
There’s freedoms, then there’s rules that you make. And that’s how you come about deciding how much improvisation there’s going to be. Like, you determine a pattern. Let’s use the term “pattern.” So let’s take, for an example, a pattern. I thought it would be good to start demonstrating right away, rather than trying to put a verbal definition.
Okay here’s the first phrase of “Armando’s Rhumba.” It’s written right here. If you can read music it’s starting right at “A.”
Not much improvisation cause I already decided. So let me play the same phrase and keep everything pretty much the same but let me change the melody a little bit. I could do something like – [ plays “Armando’s Rhumba” ]
For instance, what if I say to myself, I decide – it’s all decisions. What if I decide I’m going to play something before I start the melody? I’m going to improvise something and then play the melody. So I’m going to go add it, it’s free, I can play what I want. [ Plays tune and “Armando’s Rhumba” ]
See there. There would be an infinite number of ways to take a theme. So thats one basic way to describe improvisation. It’s what you decide will be there as a pattern and what you decide you’ll be free about interpretive. Improvisation.