Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Aaron Otheim - February 26th, 2012


We will explore ways of cultivating melodic and harmonic control during free improvisation.

Melody and harmony are meant here strictly in terms of pitch. The nature of free improvisation makes it difficult to coordinate and structure melody and harmony in a manner similar to that of a pre-composed work. Despite this, they remain a compelling sources of musical tension and release, compositional unity and formal definition.

Most of the jams on Sunday will be structured so as to encourage playing and listening that facilitate attention to melody and harmony without compromising the sense of immediacy and emotional rawness that set the improvisatory experience apart.

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My opening piece draws from the narrative provided by the current financial crisis and the recent Occupy Movement. Particularly within the United States, this saga manifests conflicts that I believe transcend “99% versus 1%.” Certainly, the basic story is one of loss, and, for many, chronic disadvantage, at the hands of the powerful, but as a society, we must temper our idea of and question the purity of “the American dream” in the face of forces such as greed and unbridled self-advancement, which has motivated both consumer irresponsibility and preying financial institutions.

We see a landscape is dotted with people who want to live simply (or simply live), those who don’t, behemoths that create and behemoths that consume, and neon signs that promise to deliver “the quickest way to satisfy your cravings.”