Thursday, August 7, 2014

Messiaen Around in Monteton

On Thursday night the DJSS tutors joined me to perform a set of my newest tunes. It’s always a great thrill to be on stage with Quentin and Ian and Mark and Jonathan and Dorian, and of course, my best pal, Guy, on drums.

Messiaen Around is based on a 9-note scale that the French composer Olivier Messiaen created called the Third Mode of limited transposition. It’s weirdly fascinating, consisting of the first 3 notes of 3 sets of minor scales, each one a half step apart. (In this case, it’s C D E flat, E F sharp G, A flat, B flat B.) I studied it for hours and felt compelled to make a tune out of it. The hardest note to fit it was the B, but I managed it in measure 16 (whew!)

Because… was written for my friend Jim Farrelly, the wonderful sax player from Indianapolis who co-produced my Midnight at Monteton CD. Mark Lockheart joined us on this one and made it his own, he was amazing. The piece is slow and full of long notes that I love hearing on the sax. (Not that I don’t like fast notes, it’s just nice to sometimes just enjoy one beautiful tone for a long time.)

Sub Zero is a bouncy tune written to cheer myself up during the horrible winter (written January 22 and 23.) I'm pretty sure I was working on a chord voicing when this tune emerged. I always pay attention to pauses and rests when I replay the digital recorder during my improvs, becuase often that is the key to solving the piece. Jack Yardley and Michael Wright joined us on drums and bass to bring down the house (and the average age.)

Messiaen Around -
Sub Zero -

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