for jazz sextet | 2013
Misnomers, composed in 2012, was written for a commissioning project put together by trumpet player Jared Broussard. Jared asked several composers to write pieces for standard jazz ensembles, such as the jazz trio, or jazz quintet, but not write jazz music. We were free to use jazz idioms or chord structures if we liked, but everything had to be fully notated. The idea was to see what it would be like for an ensemble with strong associations to play music other than that with which it is associated. I was asked to write for sextet—trumpet, saxophone, piano, bass, drums, and auxiliary percussion (I chose vibraphone because of its strong ties to jazz). As I was writing the piece, I found it difficult to get away from jazz altogether, especially with a drum set that I had to find a way to use somehow, so the music grooves throughout, if not always in a very jazzy manner. As with most pieces I write, it is essentially based on two small motives that are heard at the beginning and manipulated throughout the piece: the first is a jagged melody that slowly unfolds in the lowest register of the piano, and the second is a fragment of a descending scale introduced by the vibraphone.