I will not turn my back upon a friend

Thanks to everyone who came out to our early New Year’s Eve show at Mississippi Pizza here in Portland!

We introduced two new tunes:

1. “Hard Times Come Again No More / End of Money.” My attempt to provide a soundtrack to impending economic disaster. The first portion is a mostly traditional chorale-type setting of a lovely Stephen Foster tune. The whole lyric is worth a read, but this section in particular just kills me:

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

Not your usual IJG fare, I guess, but no one has ever accused me of being consistent. In any case, the chorale morphs into a heavily-rock-ified bombastic melody of mine: doom and gloom set to a cheesy metal beat. Much of this latter section is primarily a wordless vocal feature.

2. “Theme for a Cable News Show.”

Eventually this tune will feature fake mustaches for the whole group (though I have to research the question of whether fake mustaches will interfere with horn playing). It’s the shortest piece I’ve written in a while — one of my aesthetic interests is in trying to pack more and more musical information into shorter and shorter pieces — and it is fairly, uh, frenetic.

We also premiered two short vocal interludes about members of the group. These were funny — if your idea of funny is an image of “two lone bones flying in a glider” (for instance) — though they would have been funnier if there hadn’t been a few last-minute emergency changes to the personnel. These changes resulted in 1. the presence of one player whose name hadn’t been written into an interlude and 2. one player mentioned in an interlude, but not present at the gig because the person he was replacing told him the gig was at 8 PM, instead of 6 PM. Ah, yes.

Finally, at my own behest, we resurrected another old Evelyn Situation tune for this set: “Winter.” It’s astonishing to me that this actually worked — by pure luck, one of our horn players (Mieke Bruggeman, who rips it up on bari through the rest of the set) just happens to be a very good singer as well. She was able to step in and sing the middle part of the tune’s three-part harmony. The arrangement was complete when I asked Dan Rosenboom, who was in the vicinity while the ladies and I were rehearsing the thing, if he wanted to add a little trumpet filigree.

I must say, given that “Winter” is a tune fraught with emotional significance for me (written at a particularly trying time in my own life, in an effort to deal with a failed relationship), the process of revisiting it now, and hearing it come back to life — some fifteen years later — was almost overwhelming. It was like seeing a dear old friend after an extended forced separation. And I must say that the stylistic contrast worked pretty well. (There were many children in the audience, and while the overall raucousness of the IJG shtick surely worked them up — in a good way — I could have sworn that when we started “Winter” the place suddenly got very still and silent.)

Anyway, thanks to everyone in the group for all their hard work. The revised personnel:

Jill Knapp: vox
Tany Ling: vox
Gavin Templeton: soprano
Lee Elderton: soprano
Evan Francis: alto
Ward Baxter: tenor
Ian Christensen: tenor
Mieke Bruggeman: bari
Dan Rosenboom: trumpet
Joel Griffiths: trumpet
[Russell Scott: trumpet]
Ian Carroll: trombone
Adam Schneider: trombone
Damian Erskine: bass
Kevin van Geem: drums