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.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any solo work – the last time was in mid-June. I feel very different than that trombonist who recorded those tracks three months ago. I no longer have the time to be constantly obsessing about technique and virtuosity. I mourn the loss of that time, but the very lack of time that has made it seemingly impossible to work on trombone mechanics has also taught me something about the power of ideas over the allure of chops. Anyways, I think “Missing You” – which is dedicated to my sweetie, Kathy Olson – and “Decay” are two of the best solo pieces I’ve ever tried. I hope you enjoy the music.