The art of musical improvisation

Whatever the artistic medium, there are always those who don’t fit into the norms, those who don’t like following specific formulas for creation, who enjoy a never-ending quest, who wish to discover new paths. Free musical improvisation belongs to this category of creation. It’s a very good way of making music, says cellist Nikos Veliotis. The musician, who dedicates all his free time to improvisation – that is when he is working for the Orchestra of Colors and the Music High School in Volos – is also organizing the second Free Improvisation Festival at the club 2:13 in Athens. This year’s events, which will be featuring musicians from the London (where the first 2:13 club was first established) and Berlin stages, will take place on December 13, 14 and 15 at the Small Musical Theater (33 Veikou St. in Koukaki). Multifaceted artists such as trumpet player Matt Davies, a painter and self-taught musician, Phill Durrant, Coti K., Buckhard Beins, Dimitris Kamarotos, and many more, will be improvising on a variety of instruments, such as the violin, the cello and percussion. During the festival’s first two days, a musical ensemble of seven players will perform various musical combinations, such as solos, duets and trios, while on the last day, the festival will present a musical relay, where 10 musicians will be divided into three groups and will play non-stop for two hours, while switching teams. Improvisation’s roots go back to the end of the 1960s, beginning in the American free jazz movement. Every improvising artist’s aim is to create a piece of music, says Veliotis. Why is it then that the term composer is not used? Because, as musician Steve Lacey once said, a composer has all the time in the world to make a 15-minute piece of music, whereas the one improvising has only 15 minutes, says Veliotis. All this takes place tomorrow, but the action will be preceded tonight with a night devoted to Bo Diddley’s music at one of the capital’s most dedicated blues haunts, the Blues Bar (20 Panormou, Ambelokipi, tel 643.7667).

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