Family suite for jazz orchestra
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Family Suite for Jazz Orchestra is composed as an homage to the family members, friends, and musical mentors who have encouraged and influenced me, especially during my formative years. This Suite functions as a portrait based on musical sketches of fond memories and contains five movements in contrasting styles and tempos, orchestrated for an eighteen piece big band. Movement I, Family Sessions, is intended to capture feelings from the many joyous sessions that have been hosted at my parents’ house in Toronto, Canada. It features variations on a 12-bar minor blues and metric modulations that leads in and out of a 5/4 “Afro-Cuban” bridge. My uncle is a poet and author. He has always encouraged my musical endeavors and we have spent many hours listening to and talking about reggae and jazz music. Jah P is one of his nicknames, and Movement II is dedicated to him. This piece features a combination of reggae and jazz styles, and also draws inspiration from the music of Bob Marley. Justice of the Peace was written for my late grandfather who was a Justice of the Peace for the parish of Westmorland in Jamaica. I still remember some of the many lunch-time conversations that we would have at my grandparents’ house in Negril Beach. In Movement III, a ballad, I have tried to capture some of those images. Movement IV, Pops is an affectionate nickname for my father. When I was a teenager, he set up a DJ booth in the basement recreation room and would spin records of many various genres non-stop on the weekends. The main melody features some “pops” (dual meaning) or chord “shots,” coupled with a triplet line initially played by the trombone section. Movement V, Samba for Kay is written for my mother, who has always been my No. 1 fan, main inspiration, and most ardent musical supporter. We have spent many hours listening to the music of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. This piece progresses from the slower bossa-nova to an up-beat samba.