Yesterday I stumbled on this video of composer and musician Rachel Claudio performing an original tune, “I Was a Rockstar.” I don’t know a lot about Claudio other than that she has some killer jazz chops on piano (see other videos for this).
What I do know is that I appreciate how Claudio pulls from her jazz background to arrange and perform this tune which is much more sparse and modal than your typical jazz standard that is busy and full of rapid changes.
In talking about her process, Claudio starts off with stories and broad strokes, then zooms into a delightful bit-by-bit demo of the components of her rig, how they work, how she uses them. She walks us through her decision-making process on how she prepares for a gig as well as how she makes decisions during a live show.
Then right before Claudio begins her performance, she shares this great description of her instruments: “[My instruments] are like pet wolves in that they are technology and technology is fickle and they often sabotage me.” She laughs and goes on, “But that’s the price that I’m willing to pay for this feeling of being close to the source technologically, electronically, right now.”
Claudio’s tools give her power but they can also be unwieldy. And there’s something in that messiness, that dance between vulnerability and control, between imperfection and predictability, that is so appealing. It’s where the art is.