The summer is finally here and I welcome a slower tempo! Most of the faculty at St. Petersburg College teach during the summer. I'm not sure how that came to be. Luckily, the teaching load is less and I have time to compose.
At this point, I have two 17-piece jazz big band compositions in progress for the Helios Jazz Orchestra, along with final editing of 12 sextet compositions for the Brazilian music group - O Som Do Jazz. I plan to have the rhythm section for the OSDJ project tracked in a recording session by mid-July. After that, horns and vocal tracks will be added. This will be the third recording for O Som Do Jazz and all of the selections will be originals.
For one of the big band works, I'm experimenting with some constant structure and intervallic axis ideas. Back in 2000, I was fortunate to work with the great avant-garde pianist/composer Cecil Taylor. This was a three-week artist colony at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. It was an awesome experience to work 6 days a week with Cecil for 4-6 hours per day. At that point, Cecil was working with intervallic axis concepts, although he called them dyads. Cecil coached our ensemble as we worked through his music. He preferred that we learn his music by ear, but on one lunch break we "borrowed" his cryptic dyad notes and made a photocopy. I recall that the notes looked like sketches of cauliflower with positive and negative numbers added. For the ensemble, it took a couple evenings at a keyboard (with plenty of beer) to figure out his system of intervallic dyads.
The other compositions in progress will be a bit more melodic and conservative. No matter what approach is used to compose, the ear has the final word.