Blueprint (2016)

jazz trio (tenor saxophone, tenor trombone, double bass) and full orchestra
23 min. 30 sec.

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then shall you begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
–Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

I’ve always thought of jazz as being the language of imagination and freedom— a conversational, fluid melding of ideas. This piece features a jazz trio (tenor saxophone, trombone, and double bass), set against the backdrop of an orchestra. The first movement of Blueprint opens with some precise, dancing Balkan rhythms, which set the tone and reveal the architecture of the work. The second movement begins as a slow meditation (taking its inspiration from the evocative quote by poet Kahlil Gibran, above), and builds toward a climax—“melting into the sun”—the idea of the release of the spirit from the body. The third movement mirrors the first movement in its exuberant rhythmic drive, and also draws a bit of inspiration for its raw melodic language from the delta blues. This was an incredibly fun piece to write, and I’d like to acknowledge with thanks the trio of musicians involved in the premiere: Brent Mah (tenor saxophone), Jim Hopson (trombone), and Graham Clark (double bass).

Blueprint received its premiere with the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, with Bujar Llapaj- conductor, on June 10th, 2016, at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Sheet music (and a complete archival recording) are available through the Canadian Music Centre.