Dreaming of the Masters IV
A Jazz Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra
Instrumentation: *222*2/4331/Timp 2 perc(2nd plays drum set), hp, jazz piano, jazz bass, solo saxophone (soprano/alto)/strgs.
Composition Date: 2017/8
Commissioned by: The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
My Dreaming of the Masters series arose from a desire to combine my experience as an orchestral composer with my background as a jazz composer and performer. I wanted to write a series of concerti for soloists who were comfortable in both classical and jazz idioms. Each concerto would find inspiration in the jazz greats of the instrument I was writing for and though fully notated, would allow the player the option to improvise. Dreaming of the Masters I was a clarinet concerto written for James Campbell, Dreaming of the Masters II was a piano concerto written for William Eddins and Dreaming of the Masters III was a trumpet concert written for Jens Lindeman.
My approach to Dreaming of the Masters IV was quite different from the previous three concerti because rather than looking for inspiration from past jazz masters, I’m working with one, the great PJ Perry. The major difference is in the amount of room PJ has to improvise. The previous concerti had optional sections of improvisation, this concerto has numerous sections that let PJ be the jazz master that he is.
The work is in three movements. Movement I, subtitled Perryscope, is an up-tempo showcase for PJ’s virtuosity playing and improvising. Movement II, subtitled Reminiscence, is based on a melody I wrote for a production of Sense and Sensibility for the Citadel Theatre. It has a late romantic feel to it with a 5/4 section in the middle for solos. The last movement, subtitled Second Line, is blues based and has an infectious groove called a “New Orleans Street Beat”.
Commissioned by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and premiered January 19, 2018 at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, PJ Perry – soloist, William Eddins conductor.