Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Practice Room Highlights and Premieres

Part of my role as composer-in-residence at the Dordogne Jazz Summer School was to present new music in a seminar setting. I arrived Saturday, and my presentation was to be on Monday morning, so I had to rustle up some players quick for a rehearsal Sunday night. Out of the eleven new jazz pieces that I brought, I figured we would have time for 3 tunes, so I picked ones that were inspired by people I met at jazz school last year. I grabbed Guy Clapham, a drum student and dear friend for whom I wrote “Wise Guy.” I twisted the arm of David Marlton, who introduced me to the contrabass clarinet, and who inspired a really cool clarinet/trumpet piece titled “Deux Chapeaux.” And I pleaded with Quentin Collins, world class trumpet player/tutor, who I immensely enjoyed working with. I knew that he would be amazing on a very fast tune titled “LVB-Bop” which I wrote at the train station in Bergerac just following the course last year.

The four of us got together late Sunday, and I know that I’ve said that other times were very special that week, but this was one of my favorite moments. There was such a high in the room. The music came together so quickly, because each player had all the right instincts. I was so excited to see and play with the people that inspired the music, and it felt like they were happy to be my “muses.” I thought about the distance everyone had come from to be there - David from Russia, Guy and Quentin from the UK and me from the US. After a great rehearsal, we stayed in the room and chatted. You know, music talk. Wonderful!

(Two other people performed with us the next day – the one and only Dorian Lockett, fabulous bass tutor who runs the jazz school, and Jonathan Bratoeff, the French guitar tutor who I raved about in a separate post. Yeah!!)

Monday morning I was still jet lagged, lacking sleep, and feeling a bit surreal about the fact that I was even there. And then to have opportunity to play my tunes with such amazing artists in front of the school was, well, hard to put into words. (Which is why it has taken me 3 weeks to write about it.) I remember being so happy to be surrounded by Quentin, David, Jonathan, Guy and Dorian, and hearing how all the sounds merged together and worked. I remember that we laughed when one of the tunes ended a bit different than what we rehearsed. I remember just feeling good, and feeling very supported by the students in the audience. Afterwards I received such positive comments, and the good words continued throughout the week. Yeah!!!

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