Oh Canada

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Well.  I mean, I like adventures as much as the next guy, but border crossing is unnerving even when it goes smoothly.  Which it did not.  They got us all off the bus.  But four and half hours later we were on our way and now here I am, blogging from Toronto.

It’s been a few days and a few shows since my last entry and I must say I’m much recovered since my “Beat Up” post, or as much as I can be.  Still having minimal sinus issues and I can’t totally straighten out my knee, but still faring okay.

On the music side of things it’s all getting much deeper and much tighter.  It’s an interesting thing to be in a group that has such a strong improvisational foundation.  Those are almost contradictory terms as improvisation is pretty much leaping away from any foundation… in most cases.

One of the things we discuss a lot is about how we want the improvised jams to go.  We have specific goals in our jams as well as some “anti-goals”; pitfalls we try to avoid.  The whole thing is a study in contradictions.  We try to let go and allow the “music to play the band” while at the same time connecting to each other.  We try to compose on the spot rather than just improvise.  I guess that means creating melodies and song structures without having any preconceived notion of either.

And when it’s happening, wow… it’s really happening.  We turn on a dime.  It’s like we all fall into a thing together and we all realize it’s a thing and then without warning we all change, all at once.  It’s incredible.

But there are risks.  When it’s not happening, wow.  It’s incredible in the opposite direction.  The other night we hit the jam in “Jumping” and it seemed to go on forever.  Numerous times I tried to bring it to a climax and end but it seemed like nobody else was ready.  Afterwards we were discussing and everybody was feeling the same thing, like, “When the hell is this jam going to end?”  So in a way, we were all connected to the failure of the thing.  I guess that’s still a connection but it yields the antithesis of what we’re aiming for.

Another interesting aspect as what happens when we get comfortable with the new material.  It allows us to dig into it more and I find that my tastes are changing about which songs are my favorites to play.  Amazing what happens when  you take the fear out of the equation!

But I’ll dig deeper into the songs in a later entry.

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