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for solo saxophone (alto/tenor) and trumpet (+piccolo tpt.) and orchestra (or piano reduction)
Premiered on July 15, 2007 by Branford Marsalis, saxaphone, Rodney Mack, trumpet and The World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Jung-Ho-Pak conductor in Interlochen, Michigan
PROGRAM NOTES, from the composer:
In late 2006, conductor Jung-Ho Pak contacted me with the possibility of an exciting opportunity: to compose a new work for saxophonist Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Rodney Mack and symphony orchestra, to be featured the following summer at Interlochen Arts Camp with the famed World Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Many facets about this potential collaboration made it a proposition hard to decline.
I didn’t know Branford at the time, but my history with both Interlochen and Rodney went way back. I attended Interlochen as a young trumpeter, starting at the age of 10, for seven summers spanning 1979-1986. I also attended the Interlochen Arts Academy from 1983-86. The only summer I skipped Interlochen – 1985 – I instead went to Tanglewood, where I met Rodney Mack, who became an instant and lifelong friend.
Rodney and Branford, as it turns out, are distant cousins; and to me, the saxophone and trumpet are related as well (both in the “wind family”, though one is a woodwind and the other brass). Hence the title, which seemed a nice reference to all of the connections related to this piece.
The work is essentially a one-movement concerto, created in fast-slow-fast form. The references to jazz (Branford’s specialty) are obvious, with idiomatic harmonies and syncopated rhythms. The slow mid-section is a Stravinsky-esque blues, nodding both toward the jazz and classical worlds simultaneously. The saxophone soloist has the option for a completely improvised cadenza, if desired.
The premiere took place on the Kresge stage at Interlochen Arts Camp, on July 15, 2007. My thanks to Jung-Ho Pak, Branford, Rodney and the World Youth Symphony Orchestra for a most memorable occasion.
Program notes created: May 19, 2011