I am primarily a jazz composer. An exceptionally wide range of styles are found in my music including tango, blues, samba, fusion, ragtime, contemporary classical, and back to American roots music. A quirky humor is found in much of my music.
MUSIC FOR MID-SIZE JAZZ ENSEMBLE. Instead of thinking of a mid-size ensemble as a smaller version of a big band, a woodwind quintet – with each instrument having a distinct tone color – is envisioned as a role model. My scores use flexible instrumentation to enable the music to be performed by many combinations of instruments. Stylistically, the music covers a wide range from American roots music to avant-garde.
DONUT MUSIC (solo guitar). Commissioned by Keith Calmes. The composition was inspired by a line in a story written by my granddaughter Eillonwy (then 8 years old): “Sitting in a dark room, eating a chocolate donut”. The music represents a stream of memories, images, and thoughts as one’s life is contemplated over a donut. Written in 9 movements (or bites), the composition draws upon various roots-based musical styles including blues, Appalachian, tango, jazz, and samba.
MUSIC FOR TANGO-JAZZ BAND. I am deeply attracted to tango nuevo and to Astor Piazzolla's music. My tangos are written in a personal style and are not intended to be like conventional ballroom tango music. They draw upon jazz and at times have a touch of contemporary classical. In a curious way, a number of musician friends have told me that they hear a Frank Zappa influence in several of my tangos. I suspect that is due to the kind of humor that runs through much of my music.
BUZZARDS IN LOVE (wind ensemble). This composition turns the sound of a wind ensemble or concert band into that of a contemporary jazz orchestra. The music tells a story about two buzzards finding each other. Section titles in the score include: buzzard search for life’s meaning, buzzard attraction, buzzard tango, buzzard dating, roadkill interlude (open improvisation section), and buzzard love in the sky. This piece has a spirit of fun and adventure.
ORIGINAL TUNES AND EXTENDED PIECES. Lead sheets for solo instruments and small groups.
As you listen to my music, if there are pieces that you especially like please let me know and I will send copies of the music. I am looking for more musicians and ensembles to discover and perform this music.
MUSICIANS ON MY RECORDINGS:
Amy Leonard, violin
Jason Shapiro, saxophones
Jeff Knoettner, keyboards
E. Shawn Qaissaunee, guitar
Peter McCarthy or Brian Howell, bass
Skip Rohrich, drums
Twilight Sail, Samba Da Aguia Pescadora, Baltimore Rowhouse, Blues For Lester, Sleepy Creek Samba, Appalachian Awakening, Salt Marsh Rag:
David Arivett, ensemble recordings & piano
Donut Music, New Tango No. 5:
Keith Calmes, guitar
Donut Music is on Keith's CD All We Know is Now. Use the Buy link to purchase.
Buzzards In Love (wind ensemble demo):
The MP3 file was generated by Sibelius software and is a rough approximation of how the piece sounds with a real band.