Watch the Extended Performance online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
For the extended performance here, I'm soloing rubato over the changes. I think the context of a tune can be a valuable resource to help shape your improvisation. In this case, I'm trying to conceptualize a solo that is less linear and more about wide intervals derived from some of the chord shapes used in the melody. I'm also employing space in my improvisation in a way that mirrors the contours and "breathing" in the melody.
Many musicians talk about the importance of knowing the lyrics to a tune. In the case of "Haiku", my vocalist friend Cheryl Hodge wrote a very evocative set of lyrics; my awareness of what Cheryl wrote colored my improvisation here in the sense that I tried to create something introspective and lyrical.
On a technical note, I've found that a combination of pick and three fingers of the right hand is very useful to achieve a balanced sound when playing chords, chord melodies or improvising using double stops. I'll also employ the flesh of my middle finger of my right hand to play individual notes; the flesh on the string adds a warmth to the sound that I enjoy, particularly on slower tempos.