Recommended if You Like
Vardan Ovsepian

Genres You Will Love
Moods: Type: Improvisational Jazz: Chamber Jazz Classical: Bach Classical: Chamber Music Classical: Contemporary

By Location
United States - Maine Sell your music everywhere

Gay Pearson


DEFINING WHAT DROVE ME TO WHAT I HAVE BECOME MUSICALLY.

Except for my father playing Gershwin and Porter by ear during my childhood,
I was only allowed to listen to and play music from the classical music eras, so in the 50's I secretly recorded rock and roll when my mother was not around.
By 1978 while living in Lafayette IN, I finally had to get as far away from my classical background as possible for very dark and complex reasons not to be discussed here, and turned to studying meteorology(one of my father's hobbies), thanks to Purdue professors I had musical connections with, who literally ended up saving my life.

Already close to age 40, not having even heard of Miles Davis I finally serendipidously discovered jazz during my 5 years at Purdue.
This is mentioned in the liner notes of my debut release "Nature Girl".
A year after graduation I was very lucky to have been employed by NJDEP in the Bureau of Air Quality Evaluation.
Soon after that I started going to clubs to hear jazz pianists, both in solo and combo settings.

After harmony, theory, and improvisation lessons with 4 jazz teachers in the Philadelphia and Princeton area from the late 80's to late 90's,
followed by four self-produced releases between '97 and 2003, I realized soon after I relocated to Falmouth Maine late 2004, that in whatever venue I was performing, I felt stuck, playing the same music with the same old ideas and techniques.

The turning point came with my having made a timely discovery of the Armenian jazz pianist/composer Vardan Ovsepian in mid 2007,
who saved my musical life by opening my ears and mind to brand new topics and technics with which to improvise.

This in turn led to my discovery of how these new tools inspired me to start writing, so
from 2008-2016 my whole life revolved around these lessons to which I was intensely committed.
However lessons became
less frequent as I began to feel more competent and confident making my own compositional decisions, without having to rely so heavily on Vardan's input.
I realized more and more how my huge repertoire of solo piano and chamber music works that accumulated from my classical background could further expand these new found tools both for written and improvised sections of a composition.
My works( 50 or so by now) are mostly written for quartets or quintets, tho some purely jazz trios or quartets.
The most recent 5 have not yet been performed.
Since my last concert I've written mostly for my core group: flute, piano, bass and drums.
I sometimes either arrange an existing work for string quartet , or write intially for string quartet when I find an appropriate opportunity for a competition submittal.
My music usually evolves from sketches I"ve collected over time, usually harmony based, often starting with a harmonic sequence( a common technique used in Baroque music).
I often sketched rhythms and chord progressions similar to what I heard from contemporary jazz and classical pianists I kept hearing on online radio, youtube, and PARMA recordings( with whom two of my live recordings have been released).
With each composition came the big challenge of deciding what sketches I wanted to connect, how I wanted to connect them,
what I wanted to assign to improvisation and for which instruments, the overall form, and where i felt it should end.
The improvised sections were often based on chord progressions I extracted from the written portion, which is a typical approach for jazz composers to take.

IN 2012 as I began launching my annual concert series, I realized more and more how this classical and jazz blend of written and improvised music was what drove me musically, becoming my niche.
I knew by then that I would never make my mark as a straightaway jazz pianist.
My classical background had become an integral part of my musical energy from which I could not escape, so it was time to embrace it.
By 2015 , as my left hand developed osteoarthritis, I began focusing on mostly linear and broken chord techniques for accompanying right hand soloing, as opposed to the standard left hand "comping" during piano solos. Being left handed, this was a perfect combination of circumstances, since broken chord technics have their origin in the classical era, mostly Mozart.
I made my own use of it.

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