(homepage c.brown):

photo @ Lenny Conzalez

Carl Ludwig Hübsch:“Chris, from a point of view as a listener, how do you tell whether an improvisation is good?“

Chris Brown: „I think there’s more than one way probably.  The first thing that comes to my mind is that I’m hearing ideas. I’m hearing something that’s developing, an idea that grows in some way. If that is in the solo situation, it’s like that. In a duet situation or a group situation, I’m usually listening to the interaction between the players, which shows me that they are listening and that together they are creating a conversation, but more like a structure by means of their responses to each other –  that you can feel and hear the growth of ideas in the music. Maybe that’s the most inclusive definition I can respond with.“

Huebsch: „So, is there something that an improviser needs to know that a person who plays written music doesn’t need to know? Is there a different qualification?“

„CHRIS BROWN“ weiterlesen


Carl Ludwig Hübsch: „From the point of view of a listener, how do you tell whether an improvisation is good?“

Karen Stackpole: „I think that the sounds have a flow to them. You can tell that everyone’s connected by the musical conversations that are taking place – you could have a certain type of sound and someone will reply and then you get a conversation that seems to be happening amongst the musicians.“

Huebsch: „So, is improvised music conversation?“

Stackpole: „To me it is. It could be more like André Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism, where you just have a stream of consciousness happening. It doesn’t have to make sense – it doesn’t have to be like sound of like sound, but something’s happening that’s flowing, and you can tell when people are relating to each other. I think that’s the best of all, when people are listening and responding to that. You can tell when someone’s not listening or running all over everything. I guess that’s a method as well when someone just kind of runs all over everything.“ „KAREN STACKPOLE“ weiterlesen


Carl Ludwig Hübsch: „Scott, when you listen to improvised music, how can you tell it’s good?“

Scott R. Looney: “Probably the best moments are for me when the whole thing becomes a sort of an amalgam and the individual personalities disappear into the totality of the sound. Those are my favorite moments, when it doesn’t sound like it’s like an ego fest by anybody. I think in general for improvised music there’s a very communal kind of approach, and I find that my favorite moments of improvised music are when that approach makes it so that I almost don’t know who is playing what. Like I get very similar kinds of textures or even feelings from everyone and it just seems like a big communal whole and I don’t feel like identifying anyones part as much.“

Hübsch: „Is that the difference to composed music?“

Looney: „I don’t know. I would certainly say that a piece of composed music has this stamp of the composer’s attitude. But it depends of how the composer is leaning as to whether that comes out as a very individualist kind of response or someone that that encourages improvisation or some variance of interpretation of the music.

„SCOTT R. LOONEY“ weiterlesen


This blog contains a collection of interviews I made during my AIR Residency in the Headlands Center for the Arts, in September / Oktober 2017, with improvising musicians from the Bay Area. I met Tim Perkis, Karen Stackpole, Gino Robair, Tom Djll, Chris Brown, Aurora Josephson  and some other improvising musicians from the Bay and asked them pretty much the same questions.

The main interest about this work is driven by the idea that listening to improvisations does partially focus on other topics than listening to composed music. In composed music the use of the material and decisions can lead to a reflection on the ideas underlining the composers work. In improvisation the analysis of the material does not necessarily lead to any conclusions. Nonetheless many reviews of improvised music focus on nothing but playing techniques, involving awkward word inventions to describe what kind of noise was made. And unfortunately much too often that´s where it all ends.

I believe that improvisation is put together by interaction (of all kinds) rather than by material. So if you want to speak about improvisation you have to look at the interaction.

The interviews will be published one by one.

Meanwhile, in late 2019, these interviews are published as little booklets in pocket size. If you wish to support this work please order the booklets per mail to the prize of 7 € / booklet plus shipping.

(Please note that this prize is a solidarity prize, means I wanted to keep the prize low no matter whether it covers the costs I had in the production of the booklets. If you have enough money and it makes you feel good, please feel free to pay more. If you can not even afford the 7 € write me and I make you a better prize (this applies for students etc.))


Carl Ludwig Huebsch: Tim Perkis, from your point of view as a listener, how do you tell whether an improvisation is good?

Tim Perkis:  As a listener? I probably listen as a player, but I think the sense of intelligence and energy. When improvisation is bad usually it feels boring and listless and uninspired, and when it’s happening is it’s sparkling with some kind of energy.

Huebsch: Is there something an improviser has to know that an interpreter doesn’t?

Perkis: Yes, I think an improviser has to have a broader sense of time and of understanding how long things should go on, when changes have to happen.  One must have an expanded picture of now that includes anticipating changes and understanding the form that’s been implied by what’s come before and so on. An Interpreter has all that written out for them and they just have to make it sound good and keep the moment connected, but they don’t have to think about that broader „TIM PERKIS“ weiterlesen