The pandemic has brought a couple of exciting projects into my life that I am grateful for. One of them being a collaboration with the Boise State Jazz Orchestra. Derek Ganong, their fearless leader, dreamed up a collaboration with the BSU jazz musicians and independent composers to create a unique collaboration involving mixed media. The idea was to approach big band music through the eyes of EDM. The challenge was that the piece, employing EDM techniques, needed to be able to be performed live. With social distancing protocols, this became difficult. The live performance had to be bagged and the focus shifted to recording a cd of the music to stream for the Gene Harris Jazz Festival.
However, with social distancing, even recording a cd with a jazz orchestra was a bit of a struggle. Players ended up recording their individual parts on their own and then submitting them for a final mix. Can you imagine adjusting intonation and tuning without having a full ensemble as a reference point? How about even working on groove? We see videos done this way all the time on YouTube and it takes actually going through the process to understand the hurdles one has to jump through to pull this off. I am glad I had Derek to work through this process with and am excited about the final outcome.
I started the project wanting to re-envision one of my older pieces. The original version of Big Perm was always a tongue-in-cheek protocol in my eyes; a "finished sketch" of sorts. I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what new life I could squeeze out of an old project. I was surprised to see that, under the influence of this project, Big Perm became a whole new piece. Cry Baby is Big Perm re-envisioned. Cry Baby is the sibling to Big Perm with the same DNA seen through a blending of different perspectives. This is the power of collaboration that I love so much. Collaboration opens your eyes to new ideas and forces new experiences. For me, collaboration is the right hand to creativity.
So with that in mind, I am proud to share the Boise State Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Derek Ganong, debuting Cry Baby as part of the Gene Harris Jazz Festival!