A Different Shade of Blue

for flute and vibraphone | 2009

A number of my pieces clearly betray some of my earliest musical influences, many of which came from the world of folk music.  My original musical instrument was the banjo, followed by the guitar shortly thereafter, and much of the music I listened to growing up was firmly rooted in the Americana tradition of the south.  I went through a phase in which I was enamored with the blues, having an intense desire to learn blues piano and to buy an electric guitar and just try to figure out Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan licks for hours.  Hopefully someday I’ll get around to that. 

A Different Shade of Blue is the result of a request from my good friend, François Minaux, who asked me to write a piece for piccolo and percussion with inflections of the blues, that allowed for the soloist to take a few improvisational liberties.  This request came right after I had spent several weeks exploring the blues and developed an infatuation with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s amazing live rendition of Texas Flood (which is worth checking out on YouTube).  His improvisational style finds its way into the piece in several places (though it is hard to replace the electric guitar with the piccolo or vibraphone).  It is in three sections: 1) a slow, free section of dialogue between the performers, 2) a steady groove in the vibraphone, over which the piccolo plays material that is sometimes written out for them, and sometimes freely improvised, and 3) wrapping up with a traditional 12 bar blues section in which the players take turns with the lead.

This performance by Timothy Hagen and Adam Bedell.