A winter of pain - eventually releases - with the melting snow.
Recorded in the spring of 2001, this is my second CD of piano improvisation. It is a celebration of springtime – the melting of snow, the breaking of ice, the flowering of life, the rejuvenation of spirit. I had not done any recording for quite a while and suddenly found I had a week to myself. I launched joyously into the project and emerged about ten days later with several quality takes. It really felt as if I was emerging from a long winter's sleep, hence the name.
Though I am also a successful composer and a long-time double bassist with the Phoenix Symphony, free improvisation at the piano has always been a serious creative pursuit. In the 1990's, I began to deliberately merge his improvisation and my written composition, first by developing compositions from my recorded improvisations and then by incorporating what I had learned back into my improvisation. In Snowmelt, I feel I have achieved a real synthesis.
My purpose is to attempt to match the depth of reflection of composition with a depth of spiritual intensity achieved in improvisation. I would take an improvisation and then polish, tweak, and expand it into a written composition. But that process rather quickly worked its way back into my improvisation. At some point, the written music seemed unnecessary.
Improvisation is a spiritual celebration of the moment, as any jazz artist will tell you. But though I improvise and have played jazz, I am not a artist in the jazz tradition; I am a classical composer and performer with many years of experience. My music can be soft and tender, or loud and intense. I change tempo. I change mood. I change key and harmony. Often.
I don't just ride a groove or key or progression. I try to improvise the way I would compose, only spontaneously. My music is propelled by emotional impulse. I try to feel every moment.
The music, however, is not flighty. I am a serious musical artist. The Arizona Republic said of my first CD, Dreamcatcher -
“Each (title) is impressive for the ease with which Stallcop moves from idea to idea, and for the way in which he places considerable keyboard technique at the disposal of interlocking motifs. Stallcop gained his skill from years of playing jazz, but the music sounds more like post-Romantic harmonies attempting to take the form of some massive nocturne or ballade It's a very engaging CD.”
Improvijazzation Nation said of Dreamcatcher -
“His beautifully improvised solo piano is accompanied by liners that imply the music he does sorta’ "played itself". I can certainly understand that, as (most of) the music I’ve ever done came across that way. The difference here is Glenn’s SOLID musical foundations! Purist arguments aside, improvised music is SO much better when performed/composed with solid musical "roots".”