Band On Band

Published on March 30th, 2018 | by wemf


Band on Band: Stuart Babcock

Improvisation and composition are of the same ilk, separated by preparation. A songwriter can compose a song refining every note and every word until the piece is a perfect manifestation of the underlying feeling. An improviser has no such luxury: the music comes out in a spontaneous flurry, and what is said is said.

A composition reflects the meticulous scholar; an improvisation reflects the chaotic soul. It is the difference between an essay and a conversation. To hear an improvisation is to hear the musician thinking in real time, constructing in real time, feeling in real time. The art of improvisation opens a window into the artist at work, striving to actualize the sublime.

I began improvising seriously in my high school jazz band and haven’t looked back. Think Leo Kottke with a dark turn of mind, or Debussy writing a raga, or mugham played by McCoy Tyner.

You can hear me play on April 3rd at Tavern at the End of the World, or tune in to WEMF at 5:00 on April 2nd. Event page:

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