||This piece was commissioned by the Berkner High School Jazz Ensemble in Richardson, Texas. Director Jason Schayot wanted to feature the lead alto player as a soloist, so I designed this piece with that in mind. The idea behind this piece is that it is challenging in certain ways, but attainable to play by a wide range of ensembles. For example, some of the textures contained within this piece are extremely advanced and require a strong sensibility to pull off correctly. There are a lot of dissonant inner parts in some of the ensemble chords and that may also be a challenge in the way of intonation. The piece is also delicate in spots and aggressive in others, requiring the ensemble to take great ownership of the stylistic elements contained in this piece.
The alto saxophone soloist has a big role in this piece, being the first person to state the melody and also taking the improvised solo later on. The chord progression for this piece is advanced and is a good study in jazz harmony. For example, the chorus starts out in D minor, modulates to G minor after 8 measures, and eventually modulates back to D major. The D minor/D Major relationship is shared with a jazz standard, “Alone, Together.”
All of the sections are featured at some time in the piece. The intro features the bass player playing a solo between ensemble figures. Then, the alto saxophone is featured on the melody with the rhythm section. After the melody, the saxophone section plays an energetic soli that transitions into a full ensemble soli with brass mutes to get a more interesting tone color. After the solo section, the breakdown section features a small group of saxes, trombones, and rhythm section. Finally, the shout chorus gives the brass section a chance to play!
This piece is a great challenge for advanced high school bands. Enjoy! Also available as a PDF.