One of Canada's best-known studio musicians, Dave Pickell has recorded with many popular artists including Bryan Adams, John Denver, Carly Simon, Dan Hill, Robbie Robertson, Kelly Rowland and Joan Jett. As a writer and producer his work has reached millions, topped the charts, appeared in Hollywood movies, and been featured at international events such as the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games and the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Concert.
Late December 2008 it snowed so much that a lot of our Christmas social events ended up being canceled, so I spent some of the idle time recording these improvisations.
Do you recall that candy bar commercial where a photographer is poised outside the panda enclosure at a wildlife park, waiting and waiting for them to appear outside their little cave so he can get his shot? Finally he gets bored, turns around and starts eating his 'mr big' or whatever it was - and we see the pandas over his shoulder pop out and cavort, rollerskate, and do acrobatics! - he finishes his chocolate bar, and as he turns his attention back to his camera they have adroitly disappeared again.
For me, improvising is like that - it's sometimes shy of being recorded - perhaps in fear of being held to account afterwards and not giving such a lofty impression. In this case however, (I hope you agree) the pandas willingly danced for the camera, and something useful was preserved.
The first one was "The Little Drummer Boy" which features a towel in the piano (on purpose!) Most combine two songs, and a couple contain quotes from Ravel and Rachmaninoff.
While I was in my studio, my friend Angus was wandering through the snowdrifts taking the amazing snowflake photos which grace the CD package and give the project its name.