Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, baroque violin, piano, percussion, double bass

Duration: ca. 8:00

Premiere: November 22, 2014 :: The Edge Ensemble :: Ostadetheater, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Program Note:

Ampersand was commissioned by and written for Brendan Faegre and The Edge Ensemble. The score contains improvisation and is designed for performers that are equally adept in the worlds of notated music and improvised music. The ampersand has a long and interesting history and etymology, but my inspiration for this piece comes from its use in writing credits, such as film and television scripts, videogames, and documentaries, where an ampersand [&] indicates a closer collaboration than “and.” The Writers Guild of America uses the ampersand to denote two writers collaborating on a specific script, rather than one writer rewriting another’s work, and in screenplays two authors joined with “&” collaborated on the script, while two authors joined with “and” worked on the script at different times and may not have consulted each other at all. Ampersand combines and blurs the lines between specifically notated musical material and improvised material, and, for me, the title acknowledges the remarkable creative contribution of the Edge Ensemble in bringing this music to life.

Instrumentation: big band

Duration: ca. 8:00-10:30

Premiere: Central Michigan University Jazz Lab I; Rob Smith, director; Todd Gaffke, tenor saxophone; Evan Shaner, trumpet

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Program Note:

Space Case was written for Central Michigan University Jazz Lab I and director Rob Smith and is an homage to the great composer and pianist Thelonious Monk. The title comes from the colloquial phrase “space case” or “space cadet,” for someone who tends to live like an astronaut, exploring the remote world inside their head. Meandering, spinning, whole-tone flavored melodies are interrupted by loud, brash, tutti hits, like a daydreamer wandering through the park and being suddenly interrupted and snapped back into reality.