2.3.23 was an outgrowth of the improvisational recording project that emerged between myself and Jane Ira Bloom beginning at an early stage of the pandemic in April/May of 2020. We struggled to come to terms with the technological limitations of playing remotely over the internet. The initial motivation was to play music with another musician, something that we had become accustomed to and took for granted until the pandemic arose.As we became adept at the advances in software and the tamping down of the inherent latency of remote recording we managed to produce two wonderful collections of spontaneous duos that documented our shared need for human and musical connection in a trying time.
As things opened up we continued playing and recording remotely and ended up with a large body of pieces that we needed to disseminate in some form. At one point I sent a duo track of myself and Jane to Bobby Previte to see if he might want to add drums and percussion to the track. It was just a thought on my part but the result was stunning. Bobby was able to interact so deftly with our improvised duo that I felt that we were now venturing into new territory conceptually that brought into question many suppositions about improvisation, interaction and issues of time and being. The duos were conceived as conversational improvisations which, of course, required no conversation. We were creating pieces through interaction informed by the background intelligence that allows improvisors to create an arc of unfolding while being in the moment and taking care of business in the here and now. Having an improvisor and composer of Bobby Previte’s considerable skills and experience added on after the fact was an intriguing idea. His strategy was to do one or two passes interacting with our tracks while being mindful to avoid the obvious. He had the advantage of knowing the general unfolding of the pieces without approaching it in didactic way dictated by the events. One could have felt hamstrung by the fixed nature of the tracks, however flowing and unpredictable, but Bobby played like a true creative musician and wove an interactive narrative that sounds as present as the original tracks. We realized that it was not the same as if we were all playing together in real time and that it also doesn’t simply manifest as if he had added tracks to something that already existed. He changed the music and transformed it into new pieces in a free flowing spontaneous manner that is constantly surprising and beautiful. We discussed the fact that we have played a lot as a trio in Jane’s ensembles and have developed a musical intimacy and appreciation that allows us to feel comfortable taking chances and being present with the results. However, this process was fundamentally different, all the while sourcing all of our common experience playing together as well as skills acquired over long careers. The pandemic was a tragic and trying time which forced us as artists to develop new strategies for creative work and this recording is the result of those new approaches.
2023 All Compositions by:
Jane Ira Bloom (Outline Music/ BMI)
Mark Helias (Radio Legs Music/BMI)
Bobby Previte (Open World Music/ASCAP)
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