SJO commissioned this work in 2013, full concert length. I set out to make a stack of small “etudes”; a kind of practicing-tools to further strengthen the rhythmical connections in this 13-piece ensemble, consisting of both classically trained- and jazz-musicians.
My first idea was to compose/arrange – rhythmic and harmonically – what goes on «inside» my drum-set; the different patterns and moves that spreads out between two arms and two legs. The instruments (besides the drums) would then act as a sort of a «large ensemble drummer» and do much of the work the drummer traditionally does, so I could move more freely around in the compositions. It was a lot of fun to think, plan and play this way, and it did wonders for the orchestra’s ability to communicate tight and clear on stage.
Actually (for the recording only, of course) most of the drums in the ensemble-pieces were recorded in two stages; first I played something quite simplistic with the ensemble so they would become carriers of “my” beat, as I later would erase my original drums and record them anew, now able to take more chances – and not the least – take more pauses – where I normally would have to “keep the beat”.
The other element of inspiration came from my affection and deep respect for the “real” classical music. Many of the melodic elements bear witness of this.
The concert originally has 9 parts, about 85 minutes playing time, but only half found it´s way to this album. There are not many lengthy improvisations, but the idea was after all to interpret the different parts to perfection. Maybe that´s why mastering engineer (and sparring partner in this recording) Bob Katz branded the music «classical».
Well, maybe it is. The classical «everything written» approach was familiar to many of the musicians, and overall equalled out the roles in the band. We did of course find space to soloists every now and then! Of which there are many top contenders in SJO! They must be contained 😉
Audun Kleive, september 2016