Improvisation, Part 9 - Bettine/Binder Duo

Here we are, back on track with the original series on The Art of Improvisation, based on the all day recording session that Jason Wietlispach set up back in November 2015. This episode features me playing with violinist, Linda Binder. Linda is a musical fixture in the Milwaukee area. You can see her playing multiple nights of the week in various settings, from duos & trios, to full bands. She also covers all the bases stylistically from early music to modern.

This was another case of knowing someone but never having played with them before. I'd seen Linda play at various improv sessions around town, like Unrehearsed, and at other places. Likewise, she'd seen me play around town. After all the horns, keyboards, and electronics that I had recorded with so far during this session, it was great to have Linda come in with just an acoustic violin.

My 1st feeling was towards Arabic/Gypsy/Celtic music, so in the 1st duo, I went for my frame drum. I used this in conjunction with the bass drum. The tones blend well with the violin and I just followed Linda's playing. I love using the frame drum/bass drum combo because it gives me a lot of tonal possibilities. The bass drum adds the low end that the frame drum doesn't have, effectively extending things down. I also have the ability to bends notes by pushing the frame drum down on the bass drum head.

The 2nd duo features all metal percussion. I use the UFIP Ogororo Sound Plates and the Burma Bells to play more melodically. I also have longer, ringing notes to work with. In the 3rd duo, I move back to the bass drum, 1st getting long drone tones with a friction mallet, then playing it more like a giant frame drum with a bare left hand, and a Vic Firth BAM (split bamboo stick) in the right hand. This gives me 3 distinct tones to work with: bare hand, stick on head, and stick on rim/shell. And I can add other sounds, like putting the REMO Pocket Shaker on the bass drum head to get a sort of snare drum sound.

3 duos. 3 different percussive approaches. Check it out below:

YouTube Video Link

~ MB


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