Ensemble Type: Jazz Orchestra
Grade Level: 4.5
Solos: Piano (notated), Bass (Notated) Changes in Tpt 2, Tbn 2, Guitar
Notes on the Suite from Dean McNeill at the Premiere:
“You are about to hear the world premier of all the music in this second set. This music is inspired by a recorded that took place in NYC during March and April of 1959 and subsequently released in August of that same year. The LP we know as Kind Of Blus was likely mixed and mastered almost 60 years ago today (….by the way for those youngsters in the crowd LP = long playing record). The outcome from these 2 special recording sessions has survived the test of time. This LP has become celebrated as both an artistic and popular milestone in the development of jazz.
There is an newness, an eternal freshness in fact to the orginal LP which perhaps is why many jazz critics for decades have considered Kind Of Blue as one of the most important and influential jazz recordings of all time. Its popularity with die hard jazz fans and non-jazz fans alike has contributed to Kind Of Blue reaching quadruple platinum status in record sales.
Before we get started with our 7-movement homage to this iconic recording we would like to note that although this is 7 movement suite, that you’re welcome to clap in between movements in you want.
When we developing the concept for tonight’s concert we simply asked each contributing composer to write a short work expressing their own unique thoughts and feelings about what the original Kind of Blue recording meant to them. The SJO was then challenged with the significant task of learning all this repertorie and in so doing, assembling the resultant movements in a sequence that made the most sense in terms of presenting an overall musical narrative. Before each movement we’ll share with you a few brief thoughts from each composer’s perspective.
Before we continue we’d like to thank the wonderful people at the Broadway Theatre, the great jazz fest tech and hospitality people and all of you for taking a chance on supporting new music. We appreciate it. I’d also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation towards the composers of this suite which include David Braid, Christine Jenson, Paul Suchan, Andrew Holmzey, Richard Gillis and Jeff Presslaff. Thank you all for joining me on this compositional journey. Finally a special thanks to all the wonderfully talented and musically committed SJO members on stage tonigh.”
About Ballet Blues:
In the late 1950’s Miles Davis attended a performance of Les Ballets Africains, and was impressed by their use of rhythm, space, and the manner in which they used only a few chords/modes for entire sections of pieces. This method of composition inspired Miles Davis to compose Modal tunes like “So What”.
The idea behind this arrangement, called Ballet Blues was to approach the tune “All Blues” using some of the same elements that had inspired Miles Davis. Some of these elements include a certain “loosening” of the form, the use of different modes over the same root, and a dance-like Afro-Cuban style. This piece was part of the Thank You Kind of Blue project put together by Dean McNeill and the 2019 Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.