Oh man, sometimes I turn up that little email sound on my computer, and oh-yeah! it sounds so good, “swish” — message sent. Boom! Task complete! Check it off the list of to-dos!
I did that just now because I finally sent out arrangement notes and charts for my Sextet gig coming up at the Caravan Campfire (I think tickets are still available.) It’s the kind of thing I like to do but don’t like to rush. I don’t want it to become a chore, though everything on the list has aspects of a chore of course, but ultimately it’s part of the fun.
Really, what I’m doing is envisioning the songs and creating a personal pre-determined aesthetic and committing to it. That’s the risky part, the part that feels uncomfortable. Imagining the songs played by the fellas . . . “Will we hit that live even if we get it in rehearsal?”, “Is that enough? is it too much?” Then committing to it, and worse committing to and noting all the specifics.
Free-er music, even in the sense of a smaller group like my trio (Sundays at Loon), requires a different kind of commitment. More in the moment of course, right when you are making those critical artistic decisions. But in this more arranged music, we make those decisions beforehand and have faith, not only in the group to interpret them correctly, but that they were the correct decisions at all, and that there will be space for them to resonate.
The commitment is spread over a whole series of preliminary steps - and that production makes it more like a chore. But ideally the preparation allows a richer and more mellow canvas in the actual performance. We can go deeper into the songs and the stories, and if we make a few good decisions we can take you with us.
Portland, Just beautiful.