The First Rehearsal of any new project is always something to be dreaded and feared, the moment when all your seemingly-thrilling ideas, incubated for months and months, need to finally be brought down to earth, as notes on a page that musicians can actually play. You never feel like you have enough time to prepare, you never believe you have enough music solved and ready, you wonder for the entire week before whether you should just cancel it already, postpone it, to make it worth everyone’s trouble to come over and play it. OK, I say “you” as if this is some general phenomenon, it’s really “I” – probably not everyone suffers like this when they are working on a new piece.
And then, when you are as lucky as I am, they all show up, the atmosphere is one of total collaboration and support, experimentation and openness and patience. Darren, Kyle, Cory, Jordan, John and Tim came out to the Headlands as the “core” of the Glorious Ravage band, and they really brought all my rough, preliminary ideas to a whole new level.
The thing about working with these incredible improvisers is they ALWAYS make your music sound better than you expect – without even thinking consciously of it, they are trained to problem solve as they move through a piece, make connections where none exist explicitly in the score, and make all these coherent, compositional choices in the moment that make the music come together as a whole from moment to moment. And they are into trying crazy stuff that might not work, they will just throw themselves into some new direction or idea that is destined to fail horribly! At least the first 20 times.
With just seven of us, the sound was already pretty full – what will I do with 15 of us?!?