Dandelion Seeds

by Glenn Stallcop pianist/composer

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She Loves Me 04:00
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A New Home 04:52
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about

Warming gentleness
lifts the hopeful scattering
of dandelion seeds.

This is one of two albums I recorded in the early summer of 2003, the other being CRICKET CAGES. I was supposed to be composing a set of songs for my sister, Eleanor Stallcop-Horrox, but I found myself facing a creative block. I turned instead to recording some improvisation. It went so well that I kept it up for four or five weeks. Eventually, I turned again to working on the songs, and though I didn't use any of these improvisations as the basis for the songs, I did get my creative juices flowing and completed the songs later that summer.

When I was young, there was an empty field next to my house. Aside from it being the local baseball diamond, what I remember most about it is the hundreds of dandelions that grew there every summer. We would pull the petals and make our wishes. My father would talk about the dandelion wine his mother used to make (and about finding where she had buried it!). Later, the dandelions would go to seed, and a small breeze was enough to cause a minor snowstorm of dandelion seeds lifting off for regions unknown.

For me, dandelion seeds have always symbolized the leap into life's journey that we all make at one time or another. They literally throw themselves into the wind without knowledge of where or how they will travel. Each seed is equipped with a parachute that catches the wind perfectly and can carry the seeds long distances. I understand the parachute releases the seed if it hits anything (which is why you find dandelions growing from the cracks in walls), but it might also catch a thermal updraft and soar thousands of feet into the air.

In this CD, each track is its own journey. I leap into improvisation with the same shameless abandon as the dandelion. I have put together many different reflections on this symbolic journey. The journey is everything.

Though my music is freely improvised, it is more classical than jazz. I am a classical musician and composer by trade, and I am more prone to spontaneously compose while improvising rather than “grooving” as a jazz musician would. I treat rhythm and harmony freely and in a complex fashion. However, my music is always expressive. It is this direct emotional link and spontaneous outpouring that drew me to improvisation in the first place.

I also use improvisation as a spiritual practice. The act of improvisation forces me to concentrate all of my attention on what I am doing now, not on what I just did or what I am going to do. As such, my music always has a certain meditative quality, a certain inner stillness, even when it gets busy. It is rather like a nice personal conversation on a warm, quiet, peaceful summer evening, when a gentle breeze lifts a dandelion seed into the night air. . .

credits

released November 19, 2009

Glenn Stallcop piano, composer
Kari Stallcop, album art

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Glenn Stallcop Phoenix, Arizona

Glenn Stallcop is a composer, pianist, and a long-time double bassist with the Phoenix Symphony. He has recorded many albums of piano improvisation over the last 20 years. He is a well-established composer with over 100 published works for orchestra, chamber music and vocal works, solo piano and double bass. ... more

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