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Night Drift Is Glenn Stallcop’s new album of solo piano improvisation. Stallcop considers improvisation to be an intuitive compositional tool rather than simply a performance milieu. His music, therefore, tends to attract both Classical and Jazz listeners. Stallcop, who is also a long-time double bassist with the Phoenix Symphony, has recorded many albums of piano improvisation over the last 20 years, and will be releasing them at three-month intervals. He is a well-established composer with 14 published works for orchestra, 33 chamber music and vocal works, and multiple works for solo piano and double bass. His written music is published by the American Composers Alliance...
"Improvisation", a word that, more often than not, sends a shiver down my spine. Don't get me wrong, I do like the odd bit of spontaneous improv. But, and this is usually in the genre of jazz, when a group of artists get together and improvise it can so quickly descend into each playing their own tune regardless of what everyone else is doing.
Another issue is just how improvised are improvisation pieces? If we're talking about a live act that tours do they improvise new material every night? Or is their "improvised" music composed and committed to memory? I know it sounds a little churlish, but those are the thoughts that always fly through my mind when it comes to improvisation.
Glen Stallcop's Night Drift represents improvisation for solo piano and I'm happy to report that it was a pure joy to listen to from the very start. Not only does Stallcop shift and change the music constantly - ensuring that it demands your attention on every note - but the way the album is constructed means that there's also a wide variety within the improvisation styles on display.
The album contains 9 tracks (51 min, 02 sec). 'Place of the Butterflies', for me, was one of this LP's highlights. It's rich, multi-layered and incredibly beautiful.
I'm off to iTunes to pick up some of his other work for double bass as well as chamber and vocal. You really should give this a chance. There's a lot of skill, talent and raw beauty wrapped up in this album.
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