ATU Jazz Ensemble Resource Page

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UPDATES
  1. 01/17/09 Worksheet - Matrix Exercises
  2. 01/17/09 Video - Improvising to the Matrix
  3. 01/17/09 Video - Pad Bass Description
  4. 01/17/09 Practice Tracks (this page right >)
  5. 01/17/09 Composer Comments # 2
  6. 01/06/09 Composer Comments # 1
  7. 01/04/09 Audio - Rough Draft
  8. 12/31/08 Audio Exposition
  9. 12/02/08 Video - Brainstorming
  10. 11/27/08 Visit the Blog
  11. 11/27/08 Score 2 - Vamp
  12. 11/24/08 Video - Rhythmic Micro Material
  13. 11/17/08 Score 1 - Introduction
  14. 11/12/08 Video - Pitch Matrix
PROPOSED TIME-LINE
  • October 31, 2008
    Commission New Work for Jazz Ensemble from Tom Davis    
  • November 1, 2008 to January 11, 2009
    Composition consultation period with Dr. Howe and Tom Davis    
  • January 12, 2009 to March 11
    Rehearsal and preparation period with online support
  • March 12-14, 2009
    Tom Davis on campus for workshops, master classes and rehearsal of new composition    
  • March 14, 2009
    Premiere performance on campus
  • September 1, 2009
    Grant final report due   
PHONE CONTACT
An initial telephone interview was conducted with Dr. Howe in which I asked some general questions about his band. The questions attempted to uncover strengths as well as his own program needs.
Here is some of the information gathered in that interview:

What are the forces I will be writing for?
Grade 4
They like to play funk - But Swing is good for them!


What are your specific program needs?

Last concert was all-Latin concert so a driving swinger would be great.

Give me a section-by-section description of the band?
  • Rhythm Section?
    Good Rhythm Section
    Good bass player electric
    Some acoustic bass ability
  • Piano?
    Good reader - reads changes
  • Guitar?
    Good Blues Concept
  • Synthesizer?
    Yes – Clavinova too
  • OTHER
    Possible to have two keyboards
    Two Percussionists play vibes
  • Trumpets
    Lead trumpet up to F or G
  • Trombones
    Bones are Solid
  • Is there a Bass Trombone?
    Not a true Bass Bone
  • Saxes
    Not “blistering” technique but solid section
  • Tell me about the students in the band.
    Most are music education majors
    Those that are not are very good players
  • When you think about strong solo forces or small groupings of strong players, who do you, think of?
    Trombone 1, Tenor 1
    Trumpet 1 and 2 have been successful
    with the LCJO Ellington material


OTHER
Chart by Feb 1st
Arrive in town on March 11th
Learning experience for Dr. Howe too.


SYNTHESIS
From this information I proposed that the composition have the following attributes:
•    Is an up -tempo swing chart
•    Relies on straight-ahead walking acoustic bass
•    Utilized two keyboards - acoustic piano and synthesized pad bass
•    Featured the trombone section
•    Was aggressive and powerful
•    Employs some techniques reminiscent of the Ellington style
•    Told a story of Arkansas history

THE STORY
Whenever I travel to a new area I look for new story’s to tell through music. It is  apart of the composer-making-meaning life that I lead.  This was the case in August of 2008 when I was invited to Fort Smith, Arkansas to present two workshops in Jazz Education for the ABA.
While in Fort Smith, I visited the Historical Museum and National Park near the Oklahoma River.  The exhibits and visitor information clearly articulated the significance of the “Last Outpost” and the need for law and order in this, the line between the United States and the “Indian Territory”.

Judge Isaac Parker’s name was everywhere and I took note of this man as a symbol and enforcer of justice in a part of our country that was a haven for the lawless.  I took pictures and took note of Judge Parker’s influence in the area. In fact, the sign on the hanging gallows in the historical park struck we as having multiple meanings.  The sign Read:

"DO NOT WALK ON OR NEAR THIS HISTORICAL MONUMENT. PLEASE RESPECT THIS INSTRUMENT OF JUSTICE"
ATU Audio In Progress No 1 IntroListen!
ATU Work in Progress No. 2 Matrix Derived Rhythm VampListen!
ATU Exposition 3Listen!
ATU Commission - Rough Draft Audio Complete WorkListen!
ATU instrument of Justice Drums Only Rehearsal TrackListen!
ATU Instrument of Justice Rhythm Section Only Rehearsal TrackListen!
ATU Instrument of Justice Solo Section Only Rehearsal TrackListen!

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