Monk, Bach, and Evans = Creative Mindset

These are three of my favourite composers and improvisers. I just wanted to share one thing on each of them.

J.S Bach:

I find myself working daily on his music, particularly the violin sonatas. The patterns, intuitive nature, and extreme focus required to play his songs helps me find a way into the creative space I like hanging out in.

Violin Sonata No 1 in G minor Presto:

This is the perfect piece for vibraphone. Through it’s repetition it gives you a strong technical basis (arpeggios, scales, modulation) for building upon and it’s fun. I think his music also provides some abstract insight into the way the human mind works; the way in which the listener can be tricked into perceiving multiple voices when the line itself is single notes.

Bill Evans, who was also into Bach, has a similar intense logic at the core of his music. Focusing on his tunes and interpretations helps me find my creative space too. I find his ability to develop such beauty from simple themes striking. A good example for me is the way the Miles Davis tune Nardis(like he wrote this tune-clearly a bill evans composition but whatever) developed over the course of his trios (particularly the last one). His beautiful and adventurous intros are the pinnacle of his improvisatorial/compositional voice for me.

I won’t say much about Monk other then he embodies all of the things that excite me as an improviser and composer. To play his music it seems you need to learn the harmonic structures deeply and then realize that his voicings are actually chords that don’t exist anywhere else. This music is about juxtapositions, riddles and great rhythmic feel every second.