This Weekend: Noel Kennon
This week we are welcoming Noel Kennon to the Racer stage. Noel, who moved to Seattle in recent years, has been attending the session regularly for several months. As a composer, pianist, and violist, Noel is a frequent presence on the stage and as many know after watching him improvise at the sessions, a person with a lot of care and attentiveness with regard to group improvisations. Joined by Trevor O'Loughlin (acoustic bass), Jacob Neenan (winds), Jack Burgess (vibraphones), and Luke Hagerman (electric bass), we are sure to see and experience something beautiful. Noel wrote a thoughtful blog post for us on improvisation and listening, featured below:
"I am very excited to be hosting this week! I hope you all come out and enjoy the music my group has prepared. On your way to and from Racer I would encourage you to perform the sonic meditation written by the late Pauline Oliveros, "Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears."
I was ecstatic when I was asked to curate a performance for Racer. I've been thinking a lot about the social aspect of improvising. The shared fleeting experience of improvising that Racer provides. I recently started reading a book entitled "The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life." I will leave a link because I think the introduction really gives a good insight onto the social setting of free improvisation.
One thing I want to encourage in the improvisations of the night is intense FOCUS on the sounds not made by you - listening to what your fellow improvisers and environment have to tell you.
Another thing I would like to address briefly is one of the core problems in free improvisation, which is structure. All great pieces of music have an underlying structure that holds everything together. Even bad pieces of music have structure but it is more accidental and just sort of occurs. I want to encourage us all to try and make music that flows and transports instead of just happens. I will be bringing some text scores to help with this problem which of course will be optional to use.
Most importantly I want us to all remember to care about each other. I think this is something that can be forgotten and I do this too. We all have our lives and our problems but Racer, for me, is a kind of sanctuary at the end of my week to just have fun and interact in my favorite way, with sounds! When we care about each other and not about how we are alone or are coming across there is something beautiful that happens. We begin to actually converse and (have a) dialogue with each other, leaving no one behind in a mess of notes. This for me is the goal of free improvisation - not to prove that we can play but to make a moment for each other, a shared moment that in itself lasts frozen in our memory."