INTO THE BLUE (2016)
for wind ensemble
When I accepted a commission to write a jazz-inspired work for wind ensemble from Dan Dubay and the Howard W. Blake High School Wind Ensemble, I was caught slightly off guard. My knowledge of jazz was limited to having played in big band in high school and to a couple of jazz theory courses I took in college. Wanting to immerse myself in the medium head first, I took a beach vacation, listening to and studying as much jazz as I could. And that is how, beside the deep, blue Atlantic I became enthralled with the blues, a genre originated by African Americans in the Deep South near the end of the 19th century.
Into the Blue pays homage to this uniquely American style. Not only are a majority of the melodies and harmonic progressions based on the blues scale, but the composition even references jazz inspired compositions, most notably, a quote from George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (French horns, m. 105). It also employs swung melodies, drum set fills, big band-esque shout choruses, and many other jazz-originated features, in a wind ensemble homage to the blues.
* Selected Composition
2017 National Band Association Young Composer Mentor Project
St. Olaf College Band
Dr. Timothy Mahr, Conductor
Video Courtesy of St. Olaf College with permission