Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Solo Gig by Davey Williams

Concerning the Clumsy Assertion of Ego
“Hey, everybody! I´m writing a book! And now I feel a song coming on, too. Little old country thing, goes like this…”
Deliberate upstaging is irritating, especially to your fellow players, not to mention your audience, unless you´re upstaging yourself during a solo. In this case you are free to blow yourself off the stage so to speak.

In a ensemble, trying consciously to upstage other player is a snake-pit. Faking charisma through attention-grabbing is easily interpreted as being a jerk, rarely a plus for a performer, unless it´s somebody´s schtick as a character . Don Rickles, say. Joan Rivers, Lenny Bruce; it takes a special kind of virtuosity pull of negative interaction as entertainment. At any rate, that´s definitely somebody else´s gig.

There´s a long history of improvisation in stand-up comedy, of course .  Winging it between the audience and word flow . Huge performance adaptability , and major-league confidence in the moment. 
Then there´s  “comedy improve” . Upstager´s paradise , I would imagine. In truth, I don´t know anything about comedy improvisation, although on TV it strikes me as competitive, somewhat hyperactive and quite limited structurally. Working that feeding frenzy vibe .
(Note: Comedy in general seem largely based in characterization and ridicule. Same thing with satire which has the added limitation  – and potential liability- of having to resemble whatever it wants to parody. Backfire-prone karmic hazard kind of thing ; out of my field.  Anyway it´s a good thing for us all that comedy´s not my line of work) .

At any rate, all this represent a notably different paradigm than music improvisation, which can resemble or ridicule something or not, or both . Or, more likely, it can be (or become) something else entirely, in the in the malleability of the musical discourse.
Despite the differences in these two paradigms, however, they share a common vulnerability, Music may be more expansive in its languages, less inherently reliant on bodily interaction than theatre perhaps , and seeking a less literal expressivity than comedy; but both of these performing modes are fertile arenas for attempted onstage domination and preening.

Drawings: Anish Kapoor

 Dave Williams

01.- Call it anything you want
02.- Concerning accidents
03.- Dislike of musical noise explained
04.- Choo-Choo
05.- Truth in music appretiation
06.- What is musical free improvisation
07.- Our Universe
08.- Working Jung's Riff
09.- Preferences
10.- When it's our of our hands
11.- Glad we didn't order the special
12.- Working Jung's Riff
13.- Know the enemy
14.- The mutable form
15.- Concerning Inmortality
16.- Mach Numbers
17.- Conditionalities of Quietude
18.- Then and now
19.- Why not Sneeze
20.- We Passed Jupiter and Then Headed North
21.- Product Placement
22.- Coming under Fire
23.- Longevity of the Unpredictable
24.- Signal Intelligence
25.- FUBAR to the Rescue
26.- What Was That?
27.- The Sonata Came much Later
31.- Solo gig - A token of Esteem
32.- Solo Gig Tough Corner
33.- The Long Arm of Replication 

Based in a noted musician's decades of personal experiences, his book Solo Gig: Essential Curiosities in Musical Free Improvisation (CreateSpace  Independent Publishing Platform, 2011) examines some crucial and  far-reaching aspects of musical free  improvisation, with particular  regard to live performances.  In this  illustrated collection of  narrative essays, the author looks both into  and from inside this  uniquely paradoxical, challenging and rewarding way  of making music,  within the context of an inherently eccentric milieu. 

Available here. (U.S.A.) (Europe)