By Michael Lake

This is the story of Richie Beirach’s remarkable recording with George Mraz and Jack DeJohnette played in Bauer Studios in Stuttgart, Germany for the ECM trio album called Elm.

What is remarkable was the first take on Richie’s tune called The Snow Leopard. It is the story of how three talented and experienced jazz artists improvised an entirely new rendition of The Snow Leopard live on take one. It is a story about refined musical empathy between masters.

Richie describes in entertaining detail the circumstances of that take with a blow by blow reenactment of who did what and why. 

Rarely do we get this firsthand glimpse into the creative workings of great artists and even more rare is the explanation Richie gives of the underlying motivations for their collective musical journey. 

But this text does much more than describe the recording. 

Richie expounds on many lessons that were gleaned by him from the recording, lessons many players would have been unaware of and certainly unable to relay with Richie’s keen musical insight and love of the music. After all, Richie’s close friends call him “Code.” He knows music’s code.

So come explore some of music’s most important topics that Richie teases from this recording session. You will learn:

  • How great jazz players think about improvisation
  • The musical result of trust between bandmates
  • Some important jazz history lessons
  • The deeper implications of musical intuition
  • How to develop calm under enormous pressure
  • An important distinction between classical and jazz performances
  • The role of courage and taking risks in performing music
  • How to to allow the flow of music to take you where it wants to go
  • How jazz improvisation has evolved through the past 75 years

Before reading on, listen first to the tune, The Snow Leopard. Here it is on Spotify:

As you read through the following pages, come back occasionally to listen again to the recording in order to experience more deeply Richie’s description of the session and lessons born from that classic take in ECM’s Bauer Studios.

This is just a fake book example for the type of website I can build for you. Just trying to use a little humor here!