creative piano free jazz improvisation

'Life Chords'

Solo jazz piano improvisation by Glen Charles Halls

"life chords" is a solo free jazz piano improvisation characterized by the movement of harmony, and the sonority of voicings. There are very few 'stock' voicings and progressions in this improvisation, though many of the harmonies are clearly jazz inspired.

About 1/2 way through Halls moves into a 'contrapuntal' texture in which the left hand approximates the movement of a walking bass. One might call this 'free swing', and the time feel between the two hands if of interest. This free swing textured is maintained for quite a while.

The improvisation concludes with a highly contemporary and forceful approach, using the entire piano from lowest to highest tones. It is almost as if a single pianist with two hands is playing the parts of three hands, or more.

We also hear the projection of certain interval pairs as foreground, over low and harmonic rich bass tones. Perhaps he thinks he is playing gongs and chimes and not the piano.


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This informal recording, almost 30 minutes in length, was made in Toronto in 2002. It marked the beginning of Halls' movement into more extended improvisations which truly use an extended concept of harmony which is more derived from acoustics and spectra than 'chords' per se.