What is this “just improv”?

In the nineteenth century, it was unthinkable to be a performing pianist without also improvising. In the twentieth, improvisation wasn’t a part of the classical musician’s training or skill set. Fortunately, that’s changing, and I’d like to be part of that change.

A few years ago I started improvising for a few minutes as part of my practice sessions. I record some improvisations, and  upload the ones I like best: no talk, no fuss, just some piano music that I made up. I’m not uploading every single improvisation, because part of the intent is to tame the inner censor, and I need the filter of knowing my improvising isn’t necessarily going out into the world…but I promise I’ll post at least once in a while. (Yes, I know sometimes that while has been multiple months. Life gets complicated).

Sometimes I improvise live onstage—not just the occasional ornament or cadenza, but transitions and whole pieces. I don’t know what these will sound like or where this will lead me, but for lots of different reasons it’s time for me to make improvising part of my process. I hope some of these explorations will be enjoyable to listen to, and that I’ll improve as I keep doing them.

Click here to listen.

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