Found this cool little organ in a quiet corner of the old church

As imperfect as this is, I wanted to post it anyway.

What is “it,” you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya: the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble rendition of my tune, “Grabby McGee” (from last Friday’s concert at the Old Church in downtown Portland). Here ’tis:

Grabby McGee

It’s a brand-new thing. A further exploration of my current obsession with simplicity (or, perhaps more accurately, perceived simplicity — i.e., pieces that sound easy to play or write, but actually aren’t). It’s still very Industrial Jazz-y (it stuck out on the program like a damned sore thumb).

I’ve addressed some of my personal difficulties with writing for a band that is not the IJG here. They still obtain, but I think this piece worked a little better than last concert’s “Et Tu, Tutu?” (which I subsequently revised and added to the IJG repertoire).

Which is not to say that “Grabby” is an unmitigated success. Turns out the Old Church may not be the best place for my music. There is an awful lot of room reverberance in the recording — I think most of my stuff is better served by a bit more clarity/separation between the instruments. Many, many details — and even, in places, the whole trumpet section — get lost. And some of the intonation is a little ripe in spots (my bad — I seem to be very good at writing stuff that is hard to play in tune).

As you can hear, the audience dug it. I’m never quite sure I understand why that happens.

Anyway, my understanding is that Andrew Oliver (who co-leads this ensemble with Gus Slayton — and, by the way, both of them deserve some kind of medal for that endeavor) will be posting some of the other performances from the show soon. The band was stellar, and the other tunes were stellar, so those Mp3s will be well worth checking out, I assure you. Stay tuned to Andrew’s blog for more.

4 Responses to “Cha cha cha!”
  1. […] Jazz Group) wrote a fine piece for us entitled “Grabby McGee,” which although in a post about the concert on the IJG blog he claims “stuck out like a sore thumb” was, in my opinion and in that of the audience […]

  2. I didnt think it stuck out, it had a great response from the audience and sounded great! However I agree about the Old Church, its not just your music that is not flattered by the space, I think NO music is flattered by it. Once I played in there accompanying 30 French Horns. That was nearly a deadly amount of midrange! No, we will move the next PJCE concert somewhere with better acoustics for sure!

  3. Hey, Andrew — actually, I thought your tunes worked really well in that space! Since you focused on several subsets of the big band, instead of the whole tamale all at once, it was much easier to hear the fine details of what you wrote.

    I thought Eric’s tune worked really well there too — all the natural reverb gave a little more “oomph” to those big fat gorgeous clusters.

  4. […] Jazz Group) wrote a fine piece for us entitled “Grabby McGee,” which although in a post about the concert on the IJG blog he claims “stuck out like a sore thumb” was, in my opinion and in that of the audience […]