The Cloths of Heaven
for SATB choir
Dreaming of the Masters III
A Jazz Concerto for Trumpet and Brass Band
Composition Date: 2010
My “Dreaming” series arose from a desire to combine my experience as an orchestral composer with my background as a jazz player. I wanted to write a series of Jazz Concertos for soloists who where comfortable in both classical and jazz idioms. Each concerto would be inspired by the jazz greats of the instrument I was writing for and though fully notated, would allow the player to improvise. Dreaming of the Masters I was a clarinet concerto written for James Campbell and Dreaming of the Masters II was a piano concerto written for William Eddins.
Dreaming III isn't as clear‐cut as the rest. The obvious choices would have been a concerto inspired by Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie but I think because I'm a trumpet player myself it seemed too obvious. The piece is really more of an homage to the trumpet in popular music rather than any real individuals. Also, because I know Jen's playing so well I really wanted to write a piece that was tailor-made for him.
The three movements are titled; 101 Damnations, Prayer and Lower Neighbours. 101 Damnations pays homage to the trumpet in jazz starting with a slow New Orleans blues that moves into a 1940’s style big band swing. The inspiration for Prayer came from the fact that Jens is such beautiful flugelhorn player. It starts and ends with cadenza like statements from Jens surrounded by colorful orchestration. The middle section is a slow groove that allows Jens to improvise. Lower Neighbours is a tribute to the Spanish/Latin tradition of the trumpet. I like to think of it as Herbert L. Clarke meets Tito Puente. The title refers to both the melodic gestures played by the cornet; this virtuosic section contains many upper and lower neighbor notes, as well as the fact that Latin music comes from our neighbors to the south.