We were thrilled to work with a member of Snarky Puppy, who have done so much to bring jazz to new audiences. Zach has been leading his own crusade to show what’s possible on violin in terms of improvisation and groove playing. If you’ve come across him before you’ll have seen his use of the hashtag #jazzviolinholyshat! We think it’s quite an appropriate sentiment for some of the fiery, flowin’ lines he comes out with. Check him out on the Snarky track Lingus in the video below.
For all you classical musicians out there thinking. ” ‘Improvisation’ – doesn’t apply to me.” Think again!
Improvisation gets a bad rep in classical music circles. But it’s got a long history. Mozart would have viewed improvisation as a natural part of composition and performance. Paganini could wow crowds with his violin improvisations, as could Sarasate.
It’s only more recently it’s become alien for classical musicians to play off the page. But if you really want to develop your own approach to playing, it’s a mistake to ignore improvisation.
Zach was classical trained, and talks about how allowing himself to play ‘wrong’ whilst experimenting in improvisation gave him a sounder grasp of his technique, by teaching him the boundaries of his sound.
Why do you think classical titans like Yo-Yo Ma have done so many collaborations in fields outside classical music? If there’s one thing that ties great musicians together it’s listening widely and playing across boundaries. It’s why Stravinsky sought out Charlie Parker in New York and ‘dug it’.