It is two weeks until Monteton and the temperature in Indy is incredibly high, so I’m forced to stay inside and write. A fast tune with a Latin feel emerges, the melody falling mostly on offbeats. I get to a certain spot, about 8 bars in, and I can’t figure out what to do next. After several experiments that got me nowhere, I tried putting the idea in another key. It was amazing to me what a difference this made. The piece took on a whole new character just by having the 6th note in the tune go down one step lower than the original idea. Suddenly it’s slower, more sultry, with long, long melody notes. So, do I scrap what I first thought of and make this a slow piece, or is there a way to merge the two ideas? I tried, but . . . no. Instead, I made 2 different songs, inspired by the Indiana heat wave:
One-O-Four and Smokin' Hot Ballad.
I passed out music at the rehearsal for One-O-Four, and said I was open to changes or suggestions. But Ian, who is a great sax player and one of the teachers there, kept saying, no, let’s do it the way you wrote it. I had a 6-bar B section with a swing feel, which is a little unusual, so I didn’t know if they were going to like it for improvising on. But Ian said something like, "you made it different, and that’s what made it special." So great to have such encouraging words for my work.
Everyone put their hearts into the performance - they were hot, hot, hot! Afterwards, Irene came up to the stage with tears in her eyes. She had heard the two guitarists, Olivier and David, rehearsing in the afternoon, and said they were amazing. But she didn’t know that they were playing something I had written.
This is my beautiful and talented crew from the world premiere performance of “One-O-Four.” Back Row: Terry Knight/drums, Ian Bumstead/sax, Guy Clapham/percussion, Tanguy Pellen/trumpet, Olivier Coppi/guitar, me/piano, Nic France/bongos, David Besnard/guitar. Front Row: Ferg Ireland/bass
And the smokin’ hot players for the world premiere of “Smokin’ Hot Ballad.”
Dorian Lockett/DJSS director and bass player, me/piano, Ian Bumstead/sax, Quentin Collins/trumpet, Guy Clapham/drums, Jonathan Bratoeff/guitar.
One-O-Four (youtube video coming soon!)
Smokin’ Hot Ballad: