I originally performed Premonition in a very different sort of quartet with James Wylie, Assaf Shatil, and Scott Halligan during the Spring of 2009 (listen to the original version here). It was a real pleasure to hear it played again by Mark, Rick, Sean, and Kathy.
Short Piece is brand new, written in late July and early August. One day after one of their first rehearsals, Rick Stone and I were talking about the anxieties of writing for a group like the saxophone quartet. Neither of us are “composers-with-a-capital-C”, and the notion of writing for a group without a rhythm section was quite daunting. Rick mentioned that whatever he wrote would probably be short and not very good, so we challenged each other to write the shortest, most disappointing piece possible. Such a notion is a very interesting tool to spur on creativity, and – ironically – I’m very happy with the result. Rick’s piece was also totally rockin’.
Also, I’ve never not been involved with the performance of a piece of mine, and it was a very unusual sensation, to say the least, to hear my music played by other folks. If you happen to be a member of a saxophone quartet, and you’re interested in performing one of these pieces, I’d be very happy to email you PDF files of the parts if you drop me a line.
Every solo concert is a learning opportunity, and this one was no different. I found myself going back to little motives over and over again – there was the allure of a certain dominant-to-tonic lick, an odd minor third in the upper register here and there, some fragments of old standards (maybe because it was Valentine’s Day) – and it helped anchor the structure of these improvisations.
Special thanks goes to Derek Beckvold and Andrew Hock for sharing the evening with me – they both did long-form solos which were totally amazing (you can listen to Andrew’s set here). Also, extra special thanks goes to Rob Chalfen for running the Outpost: its casual radicalism makes it one of my favorite places to play.
Recorded on 2/6/11 from 5:01 PM to 5:38 PM in Cambridge, MA.
Thanks to Mark and Austin for being totally amazing to work with and to Rob Chalfen for having us play.
Unfortunately, due to a technical mishap that was entirely the trombonist’s fault, we weren’t able to record the entire performance of the OPQ’s recent hit at the Outpost. Missing from this documentation is the incredibly brave performance Kathy gave on her Blues for Mac, the group’s nuanced reading of Stone Age Rhumba, and the deep, odd-metered pocket of Mark and Austin’s work on Reverie. At least we have something from the gig, and I hope you enjoy the tunes!
Things have been pretty quiet here at Trombonist-at-Large for the past month. That’s something I hope to change very soon! Keep yer’ eyes peeled!
It was an incredible honor to share this performance with James and Ezra – they both sound so wonderful. Their performances are totally amazing: they are both virtuosic instrumentalists and brilliant improvisers. James and Ezra (if you ever read this): thank you so much!
I really enjoyed this performance, and I’m quite happy to present the entire concert here. There are a few suggestions I have to the listener for fun, unusual ways to experience this music (other than listening to each track separately, of course):
1) Try listening to all 6 versions of The Changing Same simultaneously.
2) Try listening to all 3 Things at the same time, and compare what you hear to the 2 Shes. Hopefully they sound similarly to you.
3) Try listening to “Improvisation” and the prelude at the same time. Unlike the previous two things, they weren’t originally meant to go together, but somehow they do…
I hope you enjoy the music! Feel free to download the tunes – I think they sound a little better that way (as opposed to streaming) – and share them with all of your friends. Thank you very much for listening.
The RPT performed as part of the third Boston Comprovised concert. As always, our very sincere thanks goes out to Dan VanHassel and Travis Alford for having us play. Thanks guys!
Stupor was a totally new composition for the trio, and it’s the first, cautious, step into writing more traditionally notated material. Like many of my peers, the music of Steve Lacy has been a really eye-opening influence, and the new tune is a little tip of the hat to Mr. Lacy.
The December 10th Rutman’s hit is quickly approaching for the Olson Pingrey Quartet! Kathy, Mark, and I had a lovely rehearsal last night and I thought I’d post a sample of one of the new tunes we’re going to play. It’s called Stone Age Rhumba. Here are the first two minutes:
Kathy Olson – bari sax
Randy Pingrey – trombone
Mark Zaleski – bass
Recorded on December 8th, 2009
(by the way – the piece features an extensive drum part – which you’ll have to come to the gig to hear!)
My intention for Stone Age Rhumba was to write a tribute to the great trombonist Bill Harris while continuing the vibe of other pieces I had written for this ensemble (this piece shares a few motivic ideas with my piece Low Contrast, which you can listen to here). Harris was the featured trombone soloist of the Woody Herman Big Band starting in the 40’s. His technique, imagination, and sense of humor were totally unique and second to none, and his playing has been a recent source of inspiration for me.
Harris’ most famous feature in the Herman big band was the tune Bijou by Ralph Burns. It was once described by Woody Herman as a “stone age rhumba”, which is where the title of the piece comes from.
And as one final reminder – the Olson Pingrey Quartet plays on December 10th at Rutman’s Violins in Boston, MA. We’ll start at 8PM and play until 9:15 or so. There’s a $10 suggested donation, and we would really love for everyone to come out. Thank you!
P.S. The gig has happened, and you can listen to the whole thing, including the full version of Stone Age Rhumba right here.
Here are two choice tracks which were recorded on August 21st at La Luna Cafe in Cambridge, MA. I might put up a few more tracks in the next several days, as I have time. Download the track by clicking on the name, or listen to it via the streaming flash player.
I’m particularly excited about the track Low Contrast. I wrote it for this group, and my idea was: what if Morton Feldman wrote a tune for the Mulligan/Brookmeyer band? I’m quite pleased with the results, and it’s a thing I’m definitely going to pursue in future projects.