Living Pictures (2020)
This is a sequel to Lehmer’s Machine. There was a section in the middle of that piece that struck me upon a second listen as something that could be a chart of its own—a short call-and-response between the low and high voices of the ensemble. That figuration drives this miniature ballad through all its twists and turns, and indeed is the vital force that earns it the title Living Pictures. In this ballad I imagine a rigid form partially reclaimed by natural forces—thus the form is 4 16-bar A sections, each with a little bit added or taken away. The saxes peck away a very simple texture that hints at the ticking of a clock or, to be thematically consistent, some wind-up mechanism. The brass acts as one, some organic being that breathes in and out, yells, whimpers. And hidden somewhere inside, waiting patiently to emerge, are fragments of a melancholy, Mingus-inspired melody.
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