Thursday, November 21, 2013

Insights into the improviser's art

Pianist Tommy Goodman shared his insights today on jazz improvisation, or as some musicians quite correctly call it, spontaneous composition. "The answer to the mystery of where it all comes from is experience. There is a lot of stuff to absorb," Goodman said. "It takes 10 or 12 years of playing five nights a week to become a skilled jazz player."

In other words, to improvise with intelligence, and not just noodle through a tune with a flurry of notes, takes time, commitment, and a true passion for the music.

Tommy Goodman (file photo)
Goodman spoke about the ingredients that go into jazz, then played in trio format with bassist Dominic Mancini and drummer Dane Hassan, at the Venice Musicale concert series at the Venice FL Public Library.

Goodman & Co. provided vivid examples of the jazz improviser's art at work in their explorations of "Pennies from Heaven," "Body and Soul," "Embraceable You" and the bossa nova "Triste."

Goodman, who is in his late eighties, has extensive credentials on the New York jazz scene. He worked principally as an arranger and conductor, included associations with Louis Armstrong, Louis Bellson, Benny Goodman (no relation), Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne.

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