Archive for May, 2008

Third Stream

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

As promised, here is my latest piece, “Textures”, which you can listen to right now by clicking on the MP3 Player under “Blogroll” in the menu on the right, or just use this link, http://www.tompkinsjazz.com/jukebox, to get you straight to the MP3 Player page. I have also uploaded a relatively new piece, “Voices” and inserted an older work, “Open Green” in between, just for variety. [Actually, the real professionals at Pixel IQ (http://www.pixeliq.com) did the uploads for me, and Charlie Dent mastered "Textures" & "Voices"]

With “Textures”, I have been trying to expand my range of synthesizer sounds, even to the point of employing sampled percussion instruments to create a drum sound. In the process, I hope I was able to mold the effects into a concise and meaningful work. Let me know.

“Open Green” is a short vocal work that we performed frequently in my
group, The Fred Tompkins Poetry & Music Ensemble. I haven’t tried to display the words to any of my vocal pieces here online, but I hope you can understand them ok.

The two halves of “Voices” are almost like two short, separate works, but I tend to hear the 2nd half as a kind of resolution of the 1st. In the first half, I combine the sound of flute multiphonics (producing several notes simultaneously) and sing/play double stops with various synthesizer sounds, sometimes in dialog and sometimes as a chord. With all of this experimentation, I still try to maintain a sense of continuity, so let me know if you think I’m successful. I can always use that imput for my next endeavor.
The 2nd half of this piece holds a special meaning for me. It was written around the time, recently, when we lost several friends who were close to the St. Louis community, and I kept thinking of them as I was playing it.
This movement also makes me think of the real courage it takes to go on in life while battling a serious illness or personal loss.

Third Stream

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

If you are familiar with my approach to making music (if not, just click on the MP3 Player in the right hand menu under “Blogroll” and have a listen), you probably realize that I tend to focus my efforts on establishing a rhythmic dialog between my notated or composed parts and an improvised drum part.

Well, my latest two projects will venture into somewhat unfamiliar territory: On a synthesizer piece, called “Textures”, I am playing all the drum parts myself with sampled instruments (not that I could ever duplicate the beautiful flow of a Gary Sykes, Charlie Dent or Elvin Jones, but my “Soundfonts” do provide some very natural percussion sounds, and my own artistic goals for a synthesized drum part are somewhat different anyway). I’ll post the piece on my MP3 Player page when it’s done, and you can let me know what you think.

For another project, I’ve been asked to write a work for the Trinity Trio here in St. Louis. It’s a marvelous classical piano trio (piano, violin and cello) w/ NO RHYTHM SECTION. That’s fine with me, because I welcome the challenge of creating ideas conceived within my own rhythmic style but expanded to enjoy all the idiomatically expressive qualities of this new ensemble.

So wish me luck, or at least get back to me with advise for the present and/or possible ways to stay out of trouble in the future.