After a gig this week I was asked how and where I learned jazz improvisation. It certainly wasn’t in school big band or even when I was studying at a conservatoire. The environment that gave me the valuable years of practising jazz improvisation was busking as part of a jazz duo on the streets of small market towns in Somerset and South Wales (occasionally we would venture to Bath, Bristol, Newport or Cardiff but it was never as profitable!). On top of this I had years of listening to and soaking up as much jazz as my brain could compute, plus plenty that it could not. The most important thing about improvising is doing it as much as you can for building up confidence, experience and creativity. Being honest with yourself about how good or bad something sounds is also very important, as with all aspects of music practise.
Over the years we were also booked for a number of gigs at corporate events, weddings, music festivals, birthday parties and various other engagements. In 2013 we decided to make some fresher recordings than the decade-old ones that were certainly showing their age and the result was an album called Wild Jazz Chase under the name The Double Sharps. Here are two tracks from that album. Enjoy!
I can’t give you anything but love:
Do you know what it means (to miss New Orleans)?