I'm a classically trained pianist and I've spent a lot of time in the last year or two really learning the blues. I've worked through some of my favorite pieces and it's safe to say I can now rip a 12 bar pretty hard. The last boogie I learned was "Kenner Boogie" by Jon Batiste.
I've been continually feeling this urge to move forward and learn how to play more "outside" the blues pocket; I want to learn to freely improvise over things that aren't the boogie woogie.
That said, I do not have (and never have had) any real interest in the real heady jazzy side of things, especially the later, high art bebop stuff. I love the sound of a lot of the classic New Orleans style, and I appreciate stuff like Louis Armstrong's melody-based improv. I did learn "New Island Midnight" by Dr. John (by ear) because I liked the rich sounds so much, and it even got me into learning about tritone substitutions, which appear throughout the piece.
In essence, I want to be able to freely improvise, but I think that, for me, immersing myself in thick jazz theory may not be the best route if I have no interest in playing or listening to straight ahead jazz. Another part of me feels like I have to go through it to get to other jazz-infused-but-not-jazz genres/styles. So, my question is: how does one learn to freely improvise outside of the jazz realm?
This question differs from this one in that I'm not attempting to transition straight into jazz from a classical standpoint; I am asking what angle I can take to further my blues improvisational skills without diving into the heart of the jazz idiom.