Frank McCarty—Compositions

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Sad Songs and Twisted Dances (1984) [18:56]
Bebop style

Trumpet and Electric Guitar

Publisher:
Soundlib Press

Recording:
McCarty: Duos

Six jazz duos for B-flat trumpet or flugelhorn with mutes, and electric jazz guitar with volume pedal and reverb-amp. As a somewhat theatrical concert piece, this set of duos employs conventional, linguistic, and graphic forms of notation and requires high degrees of reading and improvisational skills from both performers. This work was written from a distinctly bebop point-of-view and is alternately profound and mundane.

Program Note:
SAD SONGS AND TWISTED DANCES (1984) [19:21] is a set of six jazz duos for trumpeter (including Flugelhorn), and electric jazz guitarist. The composition was commissioned by my trumpet-playing colleague, Fred Beck, and is dedicated to my dear friend, Beverly Naiditch. This somewhat theatrical concert piece employs conventional, linguistic, and graphic forms of notation and requires high degrees of
reading and improvisational skills from both performers. As a former jazz musician, I approached this work from a distinctly bebop point-of-view, and as the composition progressed, it became quite autobiographical. It is alternately cynical, mundane and profound but only rarely is it well behaved.

De profundis et mundi [3:46] probably takes place at night. Not many composers would begin a work in an environment of such abject darkness and depression, but here it is. The trumpeter gradually finds a voice, calling out from the depths with stylized field hollers. What we might have here is the birth of the ... well, you know. In this movement, the guitarist only adds environmental ambiance.

Businessman's Bounce [2:25] is subtitled "potatoes," referring to the type of commercial music one often has to play just to eat. I mastered the art of cynicism working many drunken club dates in various upholstered sewers, playing "happy music," and if that wasn't enough, sometimes we were stuck with a hack-musician who couldn't count. Such memories led me to make this hypothetical piece. Beginning as a standard "2-beat," we have a situation where here and there you add a beat, you drop a beat ... well, what the heck, it all works out in the end. This is one of my very favorite compositions.

Heart Blues and Waltzes [4:08] is an intermezzo which represents an obvious contradiction. This piece contains a combination of two musical styles that could never possibly go together in real life. On one hand, we have the open, free form qualities of jazz. On the other, is your basic old fashioned um pa pa. Here, the compositional art comes from their reconciliation.

Just Try Dancing To This (Samba) [3:07] and you'll quite possible break a leg. Yes, this "bossa nova" was probably deported from Brazil. Beyond that, it also contains contradictions. In this ternary form, the middle section includes even more misbehavior, the trumpet becomes downright nasty, and, of all things, the guitarist plays a drum solo. Well, at least it's self-applauding!

Lick City [3:18] features a lot of bebop licks, melodic gestures that seem to define the idiom. The score contains graphic representations of some typical ones, but just the shapes, not specific pitches. All are surrounded by "the track," made up of the fastest possible musical passages. These materials are used by the performers, independently, for improvisation.

Apologia [2:12] is the "finale" which just goes without saying.