My Years in the Outback: Naked Meditations 1
- Artist: Leslie Stevens
- Format: CD
- Release Date:10/5/2004
'This disk of solo piano improvisations will set your ears on an avant edge with raw musical meditations, visceral first takes that incorporate free improv, modern jazz, avant garde, aleatoric and impressionist elements.' Farrell Lowe, All About Jazz 'Hard to believe she made this up right on the spot--all but the two covers are first takes. This clarity of musical articulation is rarely heard in solo jazz free improv land.' RC 'This CD has put a real twist on my ear drums and it's refreshing, out there but still very accessible. I like the edge that it rides, especially on the cut 'Inside'--sounds like Waits and Cage found a door from China that opened up inside the piano. Her cover of 'Never is Now' is my favorite, it's a lingering thought, a day dream that tempts me into to some dark places.' DKS About the CD: This CD is an intimate, quirky, visceral and often raw set of musical mediations for solo piano. Except for the covers (Garry Dial's 'Never is Now' & Farrel Lowe's 'Yellow Hammer', a graphic score), all cuts are free improvisations, created without sketches or any preconceptions, just Zen-inspired surrender to the muse at the moment of recording. All of these are first takes, as is the Lowe cover, which was deliberately unrehearsed. The Dial covers use the only 2 takes recorded, as bookends in the track order. About the Artist: Leslie has worked professionally since the early '70s in jazz, cabaret, opera, classical concert and avant garde venues as an improvising pianist, composer/arranger, vocal performance artist, operatic soprano and symphonic French horn player. A part of the metro-Denver scene since 1993, she resides in the Boulder area. As a pianist and composer, Leslie combines post-bop, avant garde and free jazz elements with impressionist, serialist, minimalist and aleatoric classical musical vocabulary. Amongst her formative influences were Messaien, Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, Corea's early freer works, Braxton, Martial Solal, Jaki Byard, AACM and Art Ensemble. As a soprano, in addition to performances of 19th Century and later classical and opera repertoire, Leslie has been privileged to perform with and for many contemporary composers on performances of their works, including Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, Morgan Powell, Sal Martirano, Ralph Shapey, Zack Browning, Robert Fleischman, Jackson MacLow and Anne Tardos. In 1994, Leslie performed Anne Tardos' photo-poetry collage in 5 languages, Cat Licked the Garlic, for speaker/singer with multimedia projections, at the Beat Poetry Conference sponsored by Naropa Institute.