The seed of this composition comes from music I was writing for a dance production in 2019 with the San Francisco-based choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, who have been dear friends and frequent collaborators for the past 13 years. One of the dance numbers was called “Vortex” and the music I had created for it was a relentlessly driving perpetual-motion flurry of fast notes. I was at a rehearsal with the dancers and Janice asked if we could explore a version of “vortex” that was a bit less relentless and had a “funkier groove.” So I used the pitch material of the original “vortex” music, but improvised a “funky groove” feel with it at the piano – and recorded the whole process in case anything useful came of it. This “funky groove” version did not end up making it into the dance show (actually, the original “vortex” music didn’t either!) but I liked it. In fall 2021 I decided to explore using it as the basis for an Improbable Beasts piece. The “funky groove” material turned out to be perfectly suited to bass clarinet ensemble, and Funky Groove Vortex grew gradually and organically as I worked to have sections of it ready for our bi-weekly rehearsals.
8 bass clarinets
Improbable Beasts on March 26, 2022