Craig Smith | The Quest

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World: World Fusion Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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The Quest

by Craig Smith

A guitar solo exploring the tonal landscapes of the imagination, played as one complete improvisation in a spontaneous compositional form.
Genre: World: World Fusion
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Quest
41:58 $2.99
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Album Notes
The Quest is a single, forty two minute one track recording which I composed spontaneously on guitar... in real time. I like to write pieces in this way, that is... usually without a specific theme or idea in mind, I just turn on the recoding equipment and experience what came out after finishing. I have called this form "Spontaneous Composition", but it is by no means my unique creation... for it is what musicians have been doing since the dawn of making music, long before the development of written music. The unique part, if there is one at all, is that we can now capture the results on recording equipment. And in addition digital technology has not only made this easier, but it has made the results in sound recording better than ever. With these advancements it's possible to not only catch that moment in sound, but essentially have a finished, publishable production with little or no tweaking.

As for this piece, “The Quest”, it came about in just that way. I had about an hour of free time in between other scheduled activities... so I set up a track on the recorder, picked up my guitar... and started playing. I didn't think about the time, or anything outside the music and continued until I felt like I had said all I had to say musically. After I turned off the equipment, I just trimmed the beginning to get rid of unwanted environmental noises prior to playing the first note, and then faded out the ending with a mild slope. Fortunately, there were no critical errors, so it was done. All total, it was a take, and complete with the trimming etc., took under an hour... even with burning a CD to play in the car for a test. I wound up leaving it exactly as it was, as I usually do with other compositions done this way. The only thing perhaps that was unusual was the forty two minute length, even a surprise to myself since I had not really been watching the clock.

The title, "The Quest", came also almost immediately as I finished the finalizing of the process... sort of simultaneous with the burning of the test CD. When it came out of the CD burner, I wrote the name on with a Sharpie marker, and left it as such. Although I had no specific intent or idea of what this so called composition/performance was about, or how it was going to unfold....the “name” became of more interest as days went by, as I will explain below.

I began playing at about age five after my grandfather gave me my first guitar. I believe the cost of which at that time was about twelve dollars. Both my mother and grandfather played the instrument very minimally, and quite poorly... to say the least, strumming three chords and singing. Yet, I apparently noticed their playing and apparently it inspired me to develop an interest in guitar myself. However, there may have been another factor involved in why I was so enchanted with the sound of the guitar itself in the first place. And, that would be because all during the nine months prior to my birth, my mother was playing her guitar closely pressed against her stomach. I have often felt that perhaps I had heard the unique sound of a guitar then and been just waiting to discover what it was I had experienced in those first months of life before entering the real world. In any event, I found the guitar close at hand in the hands of both my mother and grandfather, and the rest is history.

Consequently, throughout the years, I have been playing guitar as a full time interest, and profession. And, on a "Quest", as you might say, to discover more about the guitar and playing it... and writing music on it that reflects my experiences as they come along. So, when I finished "The Quest", I titled it as such with little thought at first, only later to reflect on the total outcome as possibly symbolic of something deeper than just another piece of guitar music, perhaps part of a musical documentary of my life with guitar.

In any event, as mentioned above, I like to just sit down with guitar in hand... and improvise in free form, with no intentional outline or format and see what results. This was just one of those cases, but one that turned out a little bit longer in length than usual, and maybe with some hidden agenda, or maybe not. Who will ever know, but who cares... all that is, is what is... "The Quest".

Craig Smith



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