John McLaughlin on improvisation (psychology of improvisatory freedom and expression)

John McLaughlin

(Brief Article)

TO REALLY IMPROVISE, TO SAY SOMETHING you feel at this moment, is the most difficult thing in the world. If you play what you know, then it's not real. To truly improvise requires you not to know anything, in a sense. It's a very difficult and obtuse point. You want to have your knowledge available to you, but the most beautiful thing is to play something for the first time in your life. In this state of mind you see everything before you, every possibility, and you feel you have the ability to move down any avenue you wish--all are suddenly open to you. Music opens the avenues, places you've never been. That can happen in your imagination, but when it occurs in music it's wonderful, because it happens not only inside, but outside at the same moment. It's magic.