Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

James Bagwell

Abstract/Artist's Statement

For my second senior concert, I focused primarily on composition. Along with developing my own guitar playing and melodic conceptions, my attention was directed toward arranging for a horn section. This allowed me to create textures with larger ensembles and more complex, rich harmonies. Arranging for larger ensembles, specifically for horns, has been an ambition of mine as I have always appreciated the powerful and compelling qualities of such instruments.

Five of the seven pieces performed were original, and two were covers of Jazz standards. The first of the two covers, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” by George and Ira Gershwin, was intended to stay true to a previous cover by Grant Green. For this piece, I transcribed and performed Grant Green’s guitar solo while arranging the other instruments (drums, piano, bass) as they are recorded on the album, Retrospective 1961-1966. I found this to be a useful endeavor in exploring the techniques of one of my favorite guitarists as well as one of my favorite periods in Jazz.

The second cover, “Angel Eyes,” by Matt Dennis and Earl Brent, was not intended to stay true to any cover in particular. I drew inspiration from the smaller ensemble (bass, drums, guitar) featured on Jim Hall’s album, Live!, but I wanted to take the song in a more structurally relaxed and minimalistic direction. For my concert, this piece featured only tabla and acoustic guitar. I enjoyed the process of developing a dialogue between two acoustic instruments, one stringed and one percussive. This also allowed for contrast in the performance, juxtaposing a simpler instrumentation with other pieces that included upwards of eight voices.

For the originals, my specific inspirations and motives varied considerably. Four of the five originals featured a rhythm section with at least two horns. The only original that did not feature horns was initially intended to include a tenor saxophone, but in the interest of not cluttering an already busy tune, I decided to leave it as a quartet: drums, bass, piano and guitar. This allowed for a clear melody to surface without contrapuntal interference between guitar and saxophone.

I composed horn sections for the other songs to create different textures with an underlying focus on the harmonic versatility of such instruments. My fascination with the pairing of a horn section with a rhythm section is derived from a personal appreciation for such sonic qualities that I find difficult and trivial to explain on an objective level, so I will not do so.

I create this music with a conscious intention of circumventing any obligation to describe the inspirations, motives, thoughts or emotions that give rise to it. In general, I believe the music should speak for itself.

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