Archive for the ‘Jazz’ Category

A Love Letter: Minverva’s Dance

Monday, October 25th, 2010



Dancing to the original.

Minerva’s Dance was originally written for my wife and for our first dance as husband and wife in 2004. She loves tangos and the music of Astor Piazzolla, so I decide to write her a tango. I went into my studio and started laying down some tracks. My friend and band mate, Andrew Wilshusen laid down some percussion and a few days later I had it ready to go. Since this was a studio piece with long improvised sections only a small part of it was ever written down. In the summer of 2010 I decided to notate and expand the orchestration.  The flute and soprano sax are featured soloist. The flute solo is a transcription of the original solo I played but the sax solo for the 9/25/2010 SFCCO concert was improvised. My friend Erling Wold was originally going to play accordion on this concert but just be for the concert he got hit by a car and broke his leg.  Minverva is the  goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music.

SFCCO performs Minvera

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Ha-Me’aggel for Orchestra

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

        I recently completed a new composition, Ha-Me’aggel (one who draws circles) for Orchestra (Video Low / High) was premièred June 9th, 2007 by the SFCCO. This the biggest of my jazz and classical music to date. Originally this piece written for my quintet (woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion), the Cooke Quintet. The group recorded Ha-Me’aggel on An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible just 2 days after the première of “Music for Humans“. The CD was released on my label Black Hat Records. It has four sections, which in the original version could be played in any order, a form known as circle music. I felt that this piece would adapt well as a Concerto for Saxophone or Orchestra, though I had to make the form less flexible for an orchestra. There is some freedom to allow different instruments be featured but in the first performance alto sax (Michael Cooke), clarinet (Jonathan Russell), piano (Alexis Alrich) and timpani (Victor Flaviani) are featured instruments. These featured instruments have improvisational solo sections. The melodies in the piece were written using a Klezmer scale, which made me think of the story of Onias (Honi) Ha-Me’aggel, a first century Jewish scholar who drew a circle and placed himself in the center of it, praying for rain and whose prayers were mysteriously and immediately answered. My prayers where also answered, as this piece was made possible by a Creative Connections Award from Meet The Composer.

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