If quarantine has given us anything its artists finding creative ways to reach their audience and make music. Whether it be live-streams, pop-up concerts, or home recordings, artists have had to get creative to get through this year. Jazz pianist Jake Smolowe has been spending his covid nights on live streams connecting with his audience. Eventually, he decided to mix his talents for improvisation and the times and record a new album fully-improvised. This artistic feat is captured in “Long Form Live 1,” and it is a pleasure to listen to.
Consisting of three sections, Long Form Live 1 moves from, mellow and exploratory chord structures to more energetic and complex themes. The first track “Searching/Chant/Rise” is impressive in its movement and curiousness as it moves from an introduction, into a complex motif. I personally enjoyed the middle section of the record ”Possibilities Lost/Possibilities Gained” and was impressed that it was not a previously composed piece. Jake uses space liberally throughout to build tension, as though he’s using his solitude as a writing partner.
A half hour of original music is no small feat for any musician. For this album to be written and recorded on the fly leaves me impressed by Jake’s compositional and improvisational talents. I am excited to hear more from this talented pianist.
You can listen to this album on Spotify
Jake Smolowe is a Bay Area pianist, composer, music educator, arranger, and film scorer, currently based in San Francisco. He specializes in jazz improvisation but his work explores many genres, including funk, rock, blues, latin, folk, gospel, classical, electronic and experimental music.