A SERIES OF PIANO IMPROVISATIONS
"Permutations of 88" is a project I began in December of 2007. It is a series of recordings of solo piano pieces, fully improvised. This series generated over 7 hours of recorded music, culminating in two albums worth of material recorded in a studio, and professionally mastered, duplicated, and packaged.
I had long been an improviser, first inspired as a child by a record in my parents' collection, of Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert. Whenever I improvised, I would dig what came from my fingers, but could never remember exactly what it was. In addition, I deal with terrible perfectionism issues when I compose. Finally I decided that I should kill two birds with one stone:
– recording my improv sessions would give me perfect, well, records of the session, and
– being forced to compose in real time would keep me from obsessing over every note
I trusted my fingers and my subconscious to know what should come next. My conscious mind acted as a project manager, leading here, cleaning up there, keeping everything together, and deciding when to wrap it up (perhaps the most difficult part!).
The first recordings were made alone, on a portable digital recorder, at the church where I work. I began posting pieces regularly on a blog, along with short commentary about the process and the results.
Eventually, I moved into a studio for three sessions in the summer of 2008. From these, I cobbled together two albums worth of material, Palettes and Passages. In 2009 I released these albums, and performed an improvised recital, which was itself recorded and released that very day: 08-23-09
Six years later, I found myself in the studio again, fingers full, and recorded the material for my two volumes of Pieces.
Soon I hope to have an archive here of all of the preliminary recordings I made for this project. Until then, you can find most at the "Permutations of 88" blog. And of course, you can check out my four proper albums at the links on this page. Thanks for listening!