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Friday, January 28, 2011

Some things are worth the wait

In 2002, I composed a tune for a sextet to have a trombone solo to be played by myself. The purpose of writing the tune was not because I was really looking for more solos to play, but because that year the Thelonious Monk Institute was having a trombone competition, and they had a category for trombone compositions, and I needed something original to submit (at that time, I was mostly arranging existing tunes). I didn't win, but I liked how the tune came out anyway, and played it in that sextet format on my graduate degree recital.

This was the first original piece I wrote in my "personal voice", going in the direction I really wanted to go with my writing. It is a fairly long form, 42 bars, in ABCDE form (basically through-composed), with a rhythmic refrain that occurs twice. I still consider it one of my best melodies. It was dedicated, as the title suggests, to my wife Kathy.

After almost 9 years, I have finally gotten around to arranging it for big band. I hope to program it, along with a number of original tunes, on a faculty recital later this spring... watch this space for details about that! Meanwhile, here's a midi rendering of the arrangement for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Something In The Moon

Just completed my third jazz ensemble commission in as many months... a piece for Bucknell University called Something In The Moon. It is a trombone feature (!), which I have not done for about 8 years. He gets to play the melody at the top and at the end, as usual. But for his creative role, I've tried something different in this one. Instead of the trombone improvising over the rhythm section playing time, I've given him a series of ad lib cadenzas, each over different chords. The only instance where he plays over time is for a few bars at the very end, and it's still cadenza-like. Then on the last chord, he doesn't improvise... just holds a unique note in the chord. We'll see how that goes over.

Something In The Moon will be premiered at Bucknell University on April 1, 2011.