First, who am I? My name is JJ Biener. I am a musician, a composer, and to the eternal astonishment of my English teachers, I am a writer. I started playing piano over 40 years ago and I have been writing music and improvising almost as long. I have always imagined releasing a commercial recording, and all the aspects of my life seem to have aligned at this point in time to make it a reality. In addition to studying and practicing music, I have also studied the business of music. So this is also a project to see if I can put all that study into practical use.
Why a blog? The blog is because I know once I write something down, it is real. If it is only in my head, it lacks substance. I have nothing to hold myself accountable to. So firstly, the blog is motivation for me. Second, it is a way to share my process with my friends, fellow musicians and anyone else who may be interested. It is a record of what I will do right, and almost assuredly, what I will do wrong. It will be a way for me to learn from my mistakes if I ever choose to walk this path again, and I am almost certain I will.
Finally, why pick this name? A Step into the Abyss is the working title of my release. I chose that title because it is perfectly describes how I feel setting off on this journey. Lao Tzu is credited with saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I feel like am stepping into the unknown, the unexplored, the unseen. It expresses my sheer terror at starting this, but also my determination to do so.
There is another reason for the name. This release is going to contain entirely improvised music. The biggest fear for any writer or composer is the blank page. Since I am improvising, I won’t even have the blank page. This is probably the least scary part of this journey since I’ve been improvising and recording for years. The scary part is actually doing something with it when I am done.
If you are joining me on this journey, welcome. Feel free to add your thoughts, comments, suggestions, whatever. I am always interested in your opinion.