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Phillip Greenlief
MUSIC: Phillip Greenlief - Solo Free Improvisation Course - Online - The California Jazz Conservatory is once again offering my 10-week class on solo improvisation.

Phillip Greenlief – Solo Free Improvisation Course – Online

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Date(s) - 01/12/2021 - 03/16/2021
5:45 PM - 7:15 PM

California Jazz Conservatory


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REGISTER TODAY – Tuesdays, JAN 12 – MAR 16 (10 weeks)

The California Jazz Conservatory is once again offering my 10-week class on solo improvisation. The class begins on Tuesday, January 12, and meets from 5:45 PM to 7:15 PM (PT).

Improvisation and composition are really two sides of the same coin, so we will start by exploring ways that contemporary composers have mapped their sound language and constructed works that utilize open forms. Using those resources as models, students will begin to develop a clear picture of the various ways they construct their music and will be encouraged to do the same in terms of organizing the tools and procedures they have at their disposal. As we move through the course, we will rely less on developing individual open forms (composition) and focus more on how that work informs free improvisation.

Each week students will be assigned listening examples (as homework) from all kinds of music styles and traditions, to further expand the student’s perception of what is possible. One goal of the class is to erase boundaries of style and form and enable the musician to be able to play with anyone in any part of the world through the act of listening and improvising, or how we can reflect a wider perception of the world through the act of making music without prompts or predetermined guidelines.

The class is appropriate and encouraged for all musicians regardless of ability, instrument, style or genre that you tend to work in. My classes are safe spaces for all players to learn and discuss how we make music. Another goal is to develop and strengthen community and encourage others in the process of your personal growth – if that appeals, please come out and participate! the class costs $395 for 10 weeks, which is $39.95 per class – a rate that is less than half of what I charge for a private lesson. You also get the benefit of working with others and having a broader forum to draw from. We will keep the class size fairly small so as to offer plenty of playing time in each of the 90 minute sessions. Since the class is focused on solo improvisation, the zoom format works well, and it is a format I feel comfortable working in.

Instructor – Phillip Greenlief

Since his emergence on the west coast in the late 1970s, saxophonist/composer Phillip Greenlief has achieved international critical acclaim for his recordings and performances with musicians and composers in the post-jazz continuum as well as new music innovators and virtuosic improvisers. He has performed with Wadada Leo Smith, Meredith Monk, Rashaun Mitchell and They Might Be Giants. Albums include LANTSKAP LOGIC with Fred Frith and Evelyn Davis, THAT OVERT DESIRE OF OBJECT with Joelle Leandre, and ALL AT ONCE with FPR (Frank Gratkowski, Jon Raskin, Greenlief). Recent residencies have included the Banff Center for Art and Creativity and Headlands Center for the Arts. His critical writing has been published in Artforum, open space (SFMOMA), and Signal to Noise.

The Bay Area’s do-it-yourself ethos has produced a bevy of dazzlingly creative musicians, but few have put the philosophy to work as effectively as Phillip Greenlief.
– Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle

Please Note: All Listed Classes and Workshops are Pacific Time. This course will be conducted live via video conferencing. A computer or other device with a webcam and microphone and a reliable internet connection is required. Log-in information will be sent to students before the first class meeting!


  1. Lew Radin says:

    Is this class going to be offered again at a later date? I’m going to be away from home in feb but I’m interested.

    • ArtsEarth says:

      Thank you for the comment and this was February 2021, last year though we have talked with the artist and this course may be offered again, at a later date, TBD. Take care and a good weekend ahead.

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