Sunday, 5 December 2010

More news from 'The OPen Source'.

The OPen Source - Live at the Hot Club de Gand 

Joe Higham - sax/clarinet, Augusto Pirodda - Piano
Hugo Antunez - bass, Antonio Pisano - Drums.

Here is the continuation of the OPen Source improvisation project. As I said in an earlier posting, it's interesting to hear how some of the work progresses when checking out musicians posts. Here I've decided to upload (via Rapishare) the first 'real' concert which took place at the Hot Club De Gand, a small club in Gent (Belgium) which hosts some interesting 'more open' types of music.  In the files that I've uploaded you'll find 4 tunes/improvisations : #1 and #2 (First set), #3 and #4 (Second set), in total about 2 hours of music. 

We (naturally) improvised all the music except for occasionally using some of Augusto's themes as starting points to create atmospheres or maybe even a tonal area. These themes were sometimes just played in the middle of an improvisation, and not always as opening themes (at the beginning of a piece), and it was up to the other players to decide whether to follow, or just carry on. This meant that the music  had when needed a possible 'crutch' that could help us refresh our ideas at any given moment. 

It's also (for me) interesting to be able to hear this music for a first time. One of the strange things with improvising everything is that you have very little reference as to how the music is sounding to the outside listener, or I should say 'the public'. When playing more conventional jazz theme based music, you at least have major guidelines such as the theme, the chords,  etc, by which you can at least judge (even if only on a moments thought) how well you played or followed those things : - 

- "Oh *$%+°°° I really made a mess of the theme" 
- "OOOOPPPPs, I missed the B section, etc". 

However in this type of music you just have to listen to the other musicians all the time, with no time left to asses how things are going. So, anyhow here's the music as it sounded on the night (anyone whose brave enough to download the music) and you can judge for yourselves how things turned out. If you wondering how the group sounds, check out a previous post with a rehearsal session here (or click work in progress in the labels section).

mp3 Zip Files @ Rapidshare (it's free, what can you loose?)
:::: First Set ::::
:::: Second Set ::::
Try the first set, and if you like it come back for the second set.

The photos are naturally not taken at the concert, but just a couple of snaps I took one day whilst rehearsing and having our usual philosophical discussions in one of our little work sessions, and a few pictures are always fun to look at on a blog..... don't you think? 

I hope you enjoy the music.

For all of those who are just curious I've posted the fourth improvisation of the evening here. It's 35 minutes long, so take some time out before pushing on play. Of course if you enjoy it try downloading a set!

Listen here to a set of the band - recorded @ The Hot Club de Gand.

* Rapidshare for those who don't know it is a file storage site, there are many, but this is the one I belong to. Unfortunately downloading files can take some time if you don't have an account - also depends on the time of day - however, if your interested in the music then just be patient.
** RAR files. You'll need a RAR converter to open these. You can find one on the web, there's plenty around that are free to download. You just need to drag and drop the files into the converter and press 'GO'. However, you'll need all three (3) files for the system to work!!!  


  1. Thanks for that. Hope to see you live someday (I mean real live!) :-)
    Let me know about next concerts.
    See you.`


  2. Hi Jacques

    Glad you like the music, and it seems that the download is working. It also looks like more and more people are playing this music. I just heard Manu Hermia (the CD) tonight at the Jazz Station ..... excellent!

    Best - Joe

  3. I agree. Last Manu'CD is really great. I didn't see the group in concert yet, but I'm sure that must be good.
    And, yes, downloading is working. I really appreciate that "gift".
    I was surprised to hear you playing like that. It's really good. How do you name that kind of "jazz"? "Improvised music"? "Free jazz"? "Contemporary jazz"? (Yes, I like "étiquettes" :-)) )

    How do you improvise? On scales? On modes? What's your "trick"? How do you find your way?



  4. Yes, I'd call it simply improvised music. As for scales etc, well, I guess you just mix up everything you know, rhythm, scales, sounds, etc. Then you have to keep your ears (very) open and listen hard to what everyone else is doing, and that's very hard indeed, quite tiring also as it's very concentrated. Oddly enough it's harder playing this style of music than music with 'boundaries' - chord progressions etc. At least there you have guideposts to follow, and so less demanding and requires less imagination. Both are fun, but I must say getting up onto a stage with no pre-conceived ideas is tuff.

    Then problem number two is ...... getting a gig for this type of music. That's another story.

  5. precisely, if there is no "original" idea to start, how do you start? Who "runs" the first idea? Do you not tempted to switch on familiar themes? Are you all in the same state of mind? The atmosphere, the audience, the location, the time influence the music? When you repeat before a concert, do you "prepare" some "plans" to play on stage or, on contrary, to avoid them?


  6. Well, I suspect that I should write a little blog post with a few remarks on our improvisations, and how we go about it. It's very easy and not very easy, a bit like watching a magician ..... it looks easier than it is (and that's part of the magic).

    The music just starts, one (or all) of us just plays, and 'voila' the band sets off. A bit like drawing or painting, you sometimes have to be brave enough to just put the pencil onto the paper and make the first mark.

    I suppose that we are in the same state of mind as we all have the same goal in mind, creating a certain type of music. As you may have noticed there are plenty of different strands of 'free' music. The atmosphere in the room certainly makes a big difference, and so do the people, which is more or less the same thing.

    As for rehearsals. We play and discuss a few ideas, sometimes before and sometimes as a result. We're thinking of adding in some themes at some point with this group, but not necessarily at the beginning of the music. And we certainly don't avoid anything, that would be counter productive - I suspect we won't be bursting into 'Now's the Time', but who knows!

  7. Since how long do you play together with Augusto, Antonio and Hugo? For that "new" experience (if it's new), did you listen to "other" saxophonists (before or after)? Maybe i'm wrong but, for that kind of music (at least in this concert) you play often the low notes (deep or dark I should say). Is it a point of vue, a deliberate option or just the feeling of the moment? Do you have the feeling to play totaly different in another context?

  8. We've been playing together about 8 or 9 months.

    For the new experiences, or influences, I just really went back to what i've been listening all along. A couple of things that I've been listening to more recently have been Mujician and Atomic, then again there's Augusto's influence and conversations we had together whilst driving around Belgium. He's been very important in the development of this group. I talked to him and he suggested we try it, and I must say I didn't know anyone else here who was really into 'that' style of music, or at least wanting to play it (*). He recorded with Paul Motian and is very influenced by that music .... Paul Bley included. We also talked about Kikuchi an amazing piano player that worked with Paul Motian - find his videos on You TUbe. In fact if Augusto hadn't been so enthusiastic I might never have tried this thing (I'd have just dreamt on).

    Apart for that, I'm also a big fan of Jimmy Giuffre who is almost the 'godfather' of this type of music - melodic freedom, although there are plenty of groups since then that follow in the same areas (the two groups already mentioned). Also this music is quite popular in the UK, or at least we has a following, I could name dozens of names.

    As for the low notes, no I think it's just trying to play in different areas of the saxophone to give different colour to the music. Sometimes playing in the middle registers gives an impression of 'playing solos', playing low or very high seems not to be so obvious, the saxophone is difficult to use as a percussion instrument.

    As for other contexts do you mean other music's? If so, yes, once you start looking at playing more openly it does influence you playing in other areas.

    (*) = There are others such as Eric Vermeulen, Jeroen Van Herzeele, to name two. There are of course more ... if you're interested there's enough people/musicians to make a small and very interesting festival!

  9. Thanks for sending me the link Joe - very sad about Tony Levin. Looking forward to hearing your music...

  10. Hi Ferdinand

    Hope you like the music, if it doesn't download (easily) let me know and I'll find another solution.

    All the best - Joe


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