Welcome to the Abyss

If this is your first trip to this site, please read my “about” page aptly entitled, “JJ Biener and A Step into the Abyss.”  It will tell you who I am and what I am doing.  And to an certain extent why.  I want to start off this blog by telling you how I got here.

The first thing that happened was that I was a part of Bob Baker‘s  Creative Cash Flow Challenge.  Just as an aside, if your are a musician, composer, artist, author, etc., you need to know who Bob Baker is.  He is a well-regarded expert on independent marketing for creative types.  I have known him for nearly 20 years, and I own and have benefited from a lot of his materials.

The Challenge was a focused, 14-day period where we did deep dives into things like what products and services do we offer for sale, who do we know who might be a potential customer, etc.  There were videos from Bob and online discussions, and it really helped me think in broader terms about what I do and how I could provide a product to a given audience.

The second thing that happened was PBS had been showing Ken Burns’ documentary series on Jazz.  I have been a huge fan of Jazz going back to childhood.  I had a favorite aunt as a child. When she married for the second time, she married a very nice man who happened to be a huge Jazz fan.  He gave me several great Jazz albums and encouraged my interest in the genre.  That interest continues unabated to this day.

The episode of the documentary that really sparked with me was the one on Free Jazz.  It talked about Ornette Coleman and his forays into the avant-garde.  It talked about Keith Jarrett who would often improvise entire concerts from scratch.  All this rang true with me because for the last 20 years, I have been improvising without chord progressions, without key signatures.  When I sit down to play, this is most often what I do.  I have some examples on my SoundCloud page.

So now I was ready for the final tumbler to fall.  After the show ended, I went down to my studio to play for a bit.  As I was playing, I started thinking about Coleman and Jarrett and what they did.  I was thinking that what they were doing isn’t much different from what I am doing.  While thinking about them, the music coming through my headphones sounded different.  I wasn’t hearing it as I usually do with me as a part of the music. I heard it as someone else might hear it.  That was when the final tumbler fell.

The two weeks of the marketing challenge, the Jazz documentary, my own playing all coalesced into a product, a plan and a set of goals.  The goal was to produce a CD of improvised pieces.  The plan was to record and market this CD.  The product was a CD, a blog, and some other things that will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

The first step, this blog, is now live.  I will be posting here periodically to give you a view into my creative process and my progress toward my goal. I will be posting some music as well.  I hope you will sign up to follow along either here or through my Facebook Page.  It should make for an interesting ride.

Play on.