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A Pianist's Guide to Free Improvisation DVD
A Pianist's Guide to Free Improvisation DVD
Actor: Marilyn Crispell
Director: Happy Traum
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
NR     2002     1hr 20min

Sit down at the piano and play whatever comes into your head, making up your own music as you go along. That's free improvisation. Marilyn Crispell digs into her long experience with the music of Cecil Taylor, Anthony Brax...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Marilyn Crispell
Director: Happy Traum
Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Educational
Studio: Hal Leonard
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Learned a lot
Robert Anderson | 11/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I really enjoy this DVD. I have been interested in piano improvisation for some time now. Bought some books on improvisation, Levine - Jazz Piano Book, Olmstead - Solo Jazz Piano. They are both great but not quite what I was looking for. This DVD explains many of the concepts in those books, and encourages you to explore improvisation yourself easily. Ms Crispell's presentation includes technical concepts, and encourages you to explore them, but more importantly demonstrates what you can do to improvise while staying within a set of harmonic "rules."
I would recommend this DVD to anyone who enjoys jazz, wants to learn more about harmony and wants to have some fun improvising.
I should mention that the concepts apply to improvising music on the piano in general, not just jazz.
Highly recommended."
Needs some focus
S. Slaughter | 09/11/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I'm only giving this video 2 stars, just to knock it down a bit from the previous (and only) reviewer's take on it. It was his review that sold me on buying it for myself, as I too, have the Levine and Olstead books and was looking for something that might more quickly "unlock" some of the mysteries that still seem out of my reach. Well at least for me - this DVD didn't do it.
Marilyn Crispell is a very capable player, at least from what I could tell, but this "lesson" feels rather an "improvisation" in itself, and goes from explaining "beginner" concepts like intervals and the major scale to what amounts to a free jam session that no beginner could ever comprehend.
If you're into Cecil Taylor and that style of playing, you might enjoy this. If you're looking for a more fundamental approach to get you moving (which I was) this probably will frustrate you.
In all fairness, the concept of the DVD is about "free improvisation" and that IS what she is trying to deliver here. If you want to know how to play in a rather traditional jazz setting like Ellington or even Bill Evans, look elsewhere.