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Trurl (3)

Mesmerized by the Potter's Wheel

Mikhail Sadovnikov uses his clay, his hands, and a potter's wheel to draw you into his spinning world of music and improvisation. [15:25] [more inside]
posted by ob1quixote on Mar 22, 2014 - 14 comments

They couldn't put one quote up here from my act?

Set List is a live show where "the world’s top comedians get a never-before seen “set list” of bizarre, outrageous, and ridiculous topics as the audience follows along on the screen behind the performer." Edited highlights of this combination of improv and stand-up have just started to be posted on the Nerdist's Youtube channel. Including sets by: [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 23, 2013 - 20 comments

Patrick Stewart: Poetry, Kissing, Crotch-Grabbing

Patrick Stewart performed with NYC's Improvised Shakespeare Company. Famed thespian Stewart joined five lads from Chicago to perform improvised Shakespeare this past week. The Improvised Shakespeare Company reports that "Patrick Stewart is the coolest person [they] know."
posted by Joey Michaels on Jan 11, 2013 - 28 comments

Its' a Boat! Its a Plane! Its a Surfboard!

If you've ever been to Hawaii, chances are that you've passed through the John Rodgers Terminal at Honolulu International Airport without giving it a second thought. The great-grandson of distinguished American Commodores John Rodgers and Matthew Perry; John Rodgers was the second American naval officer to fly for the United States Navy and a submarine commander in WW1; but what earned him the honour of having the airport named for him was the amazing and inspiring first open-ocean flight to Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by PareidoliaticBoy on Dec 4, 2012 - 6 comments

2 fried amps, a drummer playing lead, and brains full of boo: The Dead C.'s Harsh 70s Reality turns 20

One of New Zealand's greatest-ever exports of experimental music, The Dead C. have built a huge catalog of challenging "rock" music over the last 25 years that offers massively dosed psychedelic excess, improvised all-night flights, blistering free noise and deconstruction of blazing garage punk for adventurous listeners. They've cheekily called themselves "The AMM of punk rock" and it's not far from the truth. Their high-water mark -- the double-LP Harsh 70s Reality -- has reached twentieth anniversary status and has just been reissued on vinyl by legendary US imprint Siltbreeze, restoring a few cuts that didn't make it to the late 1990s CD re-release and offering this fearless free music to a new generation of fans. [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Oct 23, 2012 - 24 comments

Hungarian majesty

Georges Cziffra warms up for the BBC, mixing improvisation with a bit of the first Chopin étude. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 17, 2012 - 12 comments

Musical Architecture

A wall with large buttons that trigger voices, mellotron-style; An Indonesian gamelan xylophone orchestra played with a arcade game-like control panel; A leslie speaker that amplifies whatever a stethoscope touches. These are just a few of the instruments built into a unique New Orleans musical architecture installation called Dithyrambalina, or simply, The Music Box. [more inside]
posted by umbú on Jun 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Before we go on, someone in this room is not who they say they are....

The Lap of Luxury was a Big Brother-style reality tv show filmed for Spike TV in 2003. The format is familiar: 9 contestants living in a house together, all trying to win immunity, prevent themselves from being voted out and vying to win a $100,000 prize while facing down a smarmy host. Except... only one of them, a guy named Matt Kennedy Gould, was really a contestant. The rest were actors, playing stereotypical reality show roles. The series was scripted, heavily improvised and entirely created around Matt -- his very own Truman Show. Welcome to Joe Schmo. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 24, 2012 - 55 comments

Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy [auto-music] was a true original with his own distinctive styles on alto, flute, and bass clarinet. His music fell into the "avant-garde" category yet he did not discard chordal improvisation altogether (although the relationship of his notes to the chords was often pretty abstract). While most of the other "free jazz" players sounded very serious in their playing, Dolphy's solos often came across as ecstatic and exuberant. His improvisations utilized very wide intervals, a variety of nonmusical speechlike sounds, and its own logic. Although the alto was his main axe, Dolphy was the first flutist to move beyond bop (influencing James Newton) and he largely introduced the bass clarinet to jazz as a solo instrument. He was also one of the first (after Coleman Hawkins) to record unaccompanied horn solos, preceding Anthony Braxton by five years. - AllMusic (previously: 1, 2)
posted by Trurl on Apr 21, 2012 - 18 comments

Bud Powell

No musician of Bud Powell’s era had such capacity for improvisatory excellence and was so ready to unleash it, instantly, in such concentrated form onstage. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 25, 2012 - 8 comments

Roll 1d12 dot com

It's On The Ceiling! Roll d12:
1. d100 Swords of Damocles
2. City of the Intellectual Bats
3. Manhole-like trap door to maintenance level
4. Tapestry of webs depicting events in spider history
5. Stalactite pueblo dwellers: evil dungeon fairies
6. Adventurers impaled on barbed spikes
7. The furniture: nailed up by prankster
8. Alarming amount of dripping water and muddy seepage
9. Pulsating illumination from strange glass tubes in metal fixtures
10. Shriekers!
11. Eyes (d1000)
12. Hand-chiseled diagram of dungeon level
This and many other useful tables for DM improvisation at The Dungeon Dozen. New table every day!
posted by JHarris on Feb 3, 2012 - 22 comments

Deedl-ee-doo-doo, deedl-ee-doo-doo, doodl-ee-doo-dee dee.

What do you do when your viola recital gets interrupted by someone in the audience getting a call on their cellphone? Improvise.
posted by scalefree on Jan 24, 2012 - 26 comments

Stephane Grappelli

The exquisite jazz violin of Stephane Grappelli - then and later [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jan 19, 2012 - 15 comments

"I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house" -- Fats Waller, on Art Tatum

"Art Tatum was [one of the two] dominant piano players of the 1930s, astounding everyone with his technique, most especially other piano players, who were convinced he was playing the impossible" -- Chick Corea, hosting a segment on the largely overlooked Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. If that display of skill and improvisation has you interested, here are a few documentaries about the mostly blind piano man who made other pianists question their instrument choice, yet often left the public at large overwhelmed (or unimpressed): Toledo Stories: The Tatum Legacy (YouTube, 28 minutes) :: Art Tatum - The Art Of Jazz Piano (YT, 52 min.) :: Art Tatum: A Talent Never to Be Duplicated (NPR, audio only, 11 min.) :: Art Tatum, 'The Musician's Musician' (NPR audio, 54 min.) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 25, 2011 - 33 comments

25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films

25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films
posted by Rykey on Aug 16, 2011 - 81 comments

"Gambiarra refers to an unlikely mend, an unthinkable coupling, a solution so raw and transparent that it illustrates the problem at hand instead of eliminating it."

In Brazil, "gambiarra" is the art of improvising makeshift repairs - spontaneously solving the problem at hand with whatever is in hand. Wikipedia Brazil has a bit more on the topic and how it extends to architecture and programming. Gambilogia is an arts group exploring this DIY aesthetic. Interestingly, there's lots of discussion around gambiarra. Personally, I find the original quick fixes more compelling (examples at bottom of the article).
posted by fake on Jul 17, 2011 - 39 comments

Trey Anastasio on Improvisation

BLVR: This is all a pretty analytical approach to improvisation, where I think a lot of people consider Phish’s music to be just “made up on the spot.”
TA: We’re the most analytical band, in some ways. We’d talk and talk for hours about this stuff. I see improvisation as a craft and as an art. The craft part is important. There’s a lot of preparation and discipline that goes into it just so that, when you’re in the moment, you’re not supposed to be thinking at all.
The Believer - Interview with Trey Anastasio
posted by lemuring on Jul 2, 2011 - 41 comments

What the Eye Doesn't See, the Heart Doesn't Mind.

Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on May 28, 2011 - 11 comments

Sick Ink

Tokyo artist Sagaki Keita creates incredibly detailed illustrations which are almost completely improvised. More of his work can be found on his website.
posted by gman on Mar 10, 2011 - 18 comments

Name a piece, anyone...!

Richard Grayson is a (now retired) composer and classical improviser. To give you just a taste, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" in the style of a Tango, "Heart and Soul" a la Mahler, "Take the A Train" as a Chopin Funeral March.
posted by non-kneebiter on Oct 13, 2010 - 43 comments

Carla Bley's "Escalator Over The Hill"

It is simultaneously unlike, and above, every other record. ... Because perhaps it tells us what a trivial pursuit music really is, and at the same time how indispensable to a meaningful existence it in fact is. ... No one, least of all Carla Bley, has subsequently come even within an orbit’s distance of its achievements. ... It is, in the most literal of senses, untouchable. - Marcello Carlin
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 11, 2010 - 42 comments

Tower Defence

Last year, Yang Youde learned that his land had been requisitioned. Since the compensation terms for breaking the contract had not been settled, he has refused to move out. "The evictors said many times that they will move on me." Earlier this year, Yang took measures to protect himself. He took a hand-truck and removed the front. Then he put in a set of rockets for use as an artillery battery.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2010 - 34 comments

Drinkin' beer from a bottle, on a Friday night.

SLYT: Chatroulette piano improvisation
posted by Jimbob on Mar 15, 2010 - 61 comments

This music is for the birds.

The Finches: some of the best angular, atonal, postpunk, improvisational guitar I've heard in a while. [more inside]
posted by googly on Jan 18, 2010 - 55 comments

The Great Gig In The Sky

Interview with Clare Torry the singer in Pink Floyd's 'The Great Gig In The Sky' (youtube) [more inside]
posted by Lanark on Nov 17, 2009 - 41 comments

Afterwards: jelly and ice-cream

Hey Mom! Bobby wants to know if we can come out and play!
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Jun 6, 2009 - 53 comments

Bad news, seekers...

The legendary Ken Campbell has died. Interested in everything, apparantly. Just as excited to visit Damanhur as he was to go to CERN, just down the road. Fluent in Bislama, the creole of Vanuatu, into which he translated Macbeth. Founder of the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool, which performed epic productions of The Warp, Illuminatus! and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Not quite Doctor Who (he was beaten to the role by former protogé Sylvester McCoy). A fount of knowledge on the theatre, comedy, Fortean strangeness and science and anything else you care to mention, all of which he spun together with extensive flights of imagination into glorious, hilarious one-man shows. Totally irreplaceable, and devastating loss. [more inside]
posted by Grangousier on Sep 1, 2008 - 16 comments

some amazing contemporary guitarists from the United States

Pushing the envelope and changing the frame within which improvisational jazz has evolved for years is the focus of many contemporary jazz musicians. As far as the guitar is concerned, merging Hendrix's legacy with be-bop and the rhythms of popular music has been a primary objective. This can be traced back to the guitar of Pete Cosey in Miles Davis's groups of the 70'S. Jean-Paul Bourelly has been directly influenced by him, and Dave Fiuczynski's group, The Headless Torsos, pays its dues to Miles here. The rhythm concept behind such a shift is explained by wayne Krantz at the outset of this documentary. One can hear how close it is of Kevin Eubanks solo playing. Other guitarists of interest : Mitch Stein, Oz Noy, Charlie Hunter.
posted by nicolin on Oct 22, 2007 - 12 comments

Inspired feelings of terror among the local Baptists

"If the truth was really known about the origins of Jazz, it would certainly never be mentioned in polite society." The expression arose sometime during the later nineteenth century in the better brothels of New Orleans, which provided music and dancing as well as sex. Jazz has been around for more than a hundred years now. It is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, and willed in the music, inspired by A Passion for Jazz.
posted by netbros on Aug 30, 2007 - 27 comments

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