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
United States Air Force Band
DaJuan Brooks, Conductor
St. Olaf College Band
Dr. Timothy Mahr, Conductor
Video Courtesy of St. Olaf College with permission