PITCH BLACK

Music forSaxophones by Jacob TV

Innova 693

 

 

 

Pitch Black for saxophone quartet and ghettoblaster (1998):11.16

PRISM Quartet:Timothy McAllister, soprano saxophone; Zachary Shemon, alto saxophone;

Matthew Levy, tenorsaxophone; Taimur Sullivan, baritone saxophone

Billie for alto saxophone and ghettoblaster (2003):11.08

Taimur Sullivan,alto saxophone

PostnuclearWinterscenario No.10 forsaxophone quartet (1991/2001): 11.42

PRISM Quartet:Timothy McAllister, soprano saxophone; Zachary Shemon, alto saxophone;

Matthew Levy, tenorsaxophone; Taimur Sullivan, baritone saxophone

Grab It! for tenor saxophone and ghettoblaster (1999):9.44

Matthew Levy, tenorsaxophone

The Garden OfLove for soprano saxophone andghettoblaster (2003): 7.14

Timothy McAllister,soprano saxophone

Jesus Is Coming for saxophone quartet and ghettoblaster (2003):9.21

PRISM Quartet:Timothy McAllister, soprano saxophone; Zachary Shemon, alto saxophone;

Matthew Levy, tenorsaxophone; Taimur Sullivan, baritone saxophone

TOTAL PLAYING TIME:60.44

 

PITCH BLACK, for saxophone quartet and ghettoblaster,

was written for theAurelia Quartet. The

ghettoblasterreproduces the voice of trumpet

player Chet Bakerfrom one of his last interviews

before his tragicdeath in 1988, when he fell from

a hotel room windowin Amsterdam. Baker talks

about his past as adrug addict, his life in prison

(“It was pitch blackin there, you know.”), his first

audition withCharlie Parker (“… among 40 other

trumpet players—orwere there 60?”), and playing

without drums (“…more cool… ”). These spoken

“melodies” form themusical themes in Pitch Black,

an ode to a greatmusician.

Yeah I was lockedup in ‘62

It was pitchblack in there you know

And you couldn’tsee anything

comin’ out of thesunlight

My eyes got usedto the darkness

I looked around

and then I saw…oh I saw…

forty trumpetplayers!

in there!

Yeah no no

All the trumpetplayers in LA you know

I saw Dizzy &Miles & Oh I guess

Lee Morgan andall those guys you know

40, 40 trumpetplayers

No no I mean 60!

I managed tosurvive

and really that’sa…

Yeah I was lockedup

It was pitchblack in there you know

People are… Hhhbut

I got through it

I have thefeeling here that uuh

‘s much morefreedom

Uuhh

People are not souptight

about pettythings

A permanent 24hour party going on all year

Without drums

And reallywithout drums

I would call thatmore cool, without drums

Well that was it!

 

BILLIE, for alto saxophone and ghettoblaster, was

commissioned by andis dedicated to American

saxophonist ConnieFrigo with support from the

Netherland-AmericaFoundation. The soundtrack

features recordingsof Billie Holiday’s voice from

several interviewsduring her life.

I was scared todeath

at that time youknow

I’m always scared—Youare?

I was in thewings haha

and I couldn’tcontrol my knees

I’m always scared—Youare?

Well, you cancall it that…

I uh waited untilthe last minute

and said I wasn’tgonna go on…

I had everychance I got and still gettin’…

dare to sing!?—I’malways scared

but anyway, Iwent back and I did 16 songs

and I like to doa little tune

they make me cry,they make me happy

I walked out youknow and then

bend this notebend that note—boot

two kinds ofblues:

there’s happyblues and there’s sad blues

I’ve been veryhappy, been very happy

the blues to meis like being very sad, very sick,

going to thechurch.

they was talkin’jazz, hihi, at that time you

know—cook!

dare to sing—I’malways scared

they was talkin’jazz, hihi, at that time you know

bend this notebend that note—boot

dare to sing,dare to sing hahaha, when I got

through it

can you sing andI said sure I sing all the time

I always knew Icould sing ‘cause I always did sing,

but uh

so I sang, andeverybody loved me and

I made about a 40dollars in tips and I got the job!

they made me cry,they made me happy

blues, againblues, again blues

a little, alittle a little too much

so I walk so Italk

and my voice istoo loud when I’m out in the crowd

so that peopleare apt to stare

I can’t hear theband at all! uh h h

know know know dothey know—do they care?

that it’s onlythat I’m lonely and low as can be

and the tunes arenot always the best—I request

and my voice istoo loud—I can’t hear the band

at all!

but what else canyou do, at the end of a love

affair ?

so I smoke and Ijoke uh hh a litt—a litt—a little

too much

and I laugh, andthe smile on my face isn’t really a

smile at all!

and the smile onmy face, on my face

face face face—adadadada—forthe trees

face face face—forthe sun into the rock

and now a littletune specially written for me:

strange fruit,strange fruit

I never hadbrothers or sisters, cousins or uncles—

all I had was mymom

my mom and I hada pretty rough time when we

were in Baltimore

all we had wasone preacher, he used to come every

Sunday.

to an an to an anc no t no t no s no t

Jesus Christ no!like Jesus no!

like no Jesuscook like no some cook like no Jesus

cook

Jesus Christ,they want me out of Chicago or uh

Foxton, he said

Oh man it took me10 years!

And I said: I can’tgo out there, there’s too many

people…

 

POSTNUCLEARWINTERSCENARIO No.10 waswritten

on January 23, 1991,shortly after the first Gulf

War broke out.During those days, I felt speechless

and unable tocompose. In the media, meteorologists

predictedapocalyptical consequences for

the climate and theenvironment, similar to

the effects of anuclear war. They referred to a

“postnuclearwinterscenario.” I decided to express

my speechlessness inmusic. In only a few hours

time I had writtenPostnuclear Winterscenario No.1

for solo piano. Itis probably the simplest music I

ever wrote. Allmusical material was reduced to a

minimum. The melodyconsists of one single note,

an E, which isrepeated endlessly. The harmonic

accompanimentconsists of only four different notes:

B, A, G, F#. Thereare no real rhythmical, melodical,

or harmonicaldevelopments in Postnuclear

Winterscenario. Themain means of expression are

in the repetitionand the delivery. Kees Wieringa

performed No. 1 innumerous performances around

the world, includingin Iraq, on the ruins of

Babylon. Musicianslater asked me to arrange

other ‘scenarios’based on the first one, so I wrote

variations forstring quartet, choir, percussion, one

and two electricguitars, saxophone quartet, and,

finally, in 2005,for symphony orchestra. Each

scenario isdifferent, but they all have the same

theme in common:speechlessness about war and

devastation.

 

GRAB IT!, for tenor saxophone and ghettoblaster,

was composed forArno Bornkamp. In my view,

the saxophone hashad a major effect on recent

American musichistory. Growing up in the 60s

with blues, jazz,and rock, American music had a

strong impact on me.In Grab It! I tried toexplore

the no-man’s-landbetween language and music.

I believe thatlanguage is one of the origins of

music. The moreemotional the spoken word, the

more it starts “singing”and becomes “music.” In

writing this piece,I became interested in how the

roots of someAfrican-American music can be found

in English as it isspoken in America. I selected

voice samples froman old American documentary

about juveniledelinquency, called Scared Straight,

in which mensentenced to life in prison play an

important role.Their world, on the fringe of society,

with itsheartbreaking verbal assaults, moved me

deeply. The roughvitality of these shouting men

formed a perfectunity with the harsh and powerful

sound of the tenorsaxophone. Grab It! is akind of

duet, a ‘duel’ ifyou like, for tenor and ghettoblaster

soundtrack. Thetenor competes with a flood of

syllables, words andsentences, demanding great

endurance from theperformer. The meaning of the

lyrics becomesgradually clear during the piece, as

well as thehopelessness of the prisoners’ situation.

In jail, suicide isnot uncommon: “He tied one end

around the pipe, andhe hung himself. So he went

out the back doorrapped up in a green sheet with

a tag on his toe…You lose everything!” In a way,

death row is ametaphor for life. However, the piece

is not just sad, butcan also be understood as a

memento vivere. Lifeis worth living: Grab it!

Speak it up… .Isaid speak it up Mickey Mouse,

speak up!

Grab it mother Isaid

I still hear ‘mring

Grab itmotherfucker, grab it!

Fifty gimme

And I want you tohave that say now when you walk

out that doorgoing down here ‘cause I’ll be squatin’

on you

It’s a no—leit’s a no—le

Motherfuckerpunch

Oh man, ha ha haha

See this

Nobody

What’s yournumber?

For ever

54 936 life andfrom motherfucking now on

Any time when yougo

I—how—keep—youlose

Take off

I still hear ‘mring

How motherfuckingtough could i have been

You take that

You get a kickout of that?

Do you get a kickout of that?!

Won’t you tell mewhat you think?

Drugs hu hu hu hu

Get your shoes

I bite yourfucking nose off

Tell me don’twaste my time tell me

What’s yournumber?

Grab itmotherfucker grab it!

Get the fuck out…get up and get off the stage

while…

54 936 life andfrom motherfucking now on

His motherfuckingmanhood might just been tested

Reprise: grab it!Mother I said (etc.)

What’s yournumber?!

Just rememberthis:

I personally don’tgive a fat rat ass

What you do whenyou leave here today;

You loseeverything

He went out thebackdoor wrapped up in a green

sheet

With a tag on histoe

Tied one endaround the pipe

And he hunghimself

And when theystuck his dumb ass in the ground

To give him thatlittle wooden graveyard marker

So he wasprobably the one that keeps the party

goin’

Just standing onthe corner, put lipstick on your lips

Smoke a littlereefer, drink a little wine

I got a veryserious problem, I’ve seen it a thousand

times

You gonna walkaround this joint—or any joint you

might be in

You loseeverything..and for you tough

motherfuckerslike you

Tie one endaround the pipe

I will tell I…

Every man you seebehind me is doing over 25 years

or life

Every man you seebehind me, he’s got all the

respect in theworld

What’s yournumber?

It stops righthere my life stops this is it

Never nevernever, alright, you should stay cool,

you too!

Tie one endaround the pipe

And for you toughmotherfuckers like you: you lose

everything!

Grab itmotherfucker grab it!

54 9 3 6 lifewhat’s your number

I said up!!

 

Based on a poem byWilliam Blake, THE GARDEN

OF LOVE, for oboe and ghettoblaster, was composed

in March 2002 andlater adapted for soprano

saxophone.

I went to theGarden of Love.

And saw what Inever had seen:

A chapel wasbuilt in the midst,

Where I used toplay on the green.

And the gates ofthis chapel were shut,

And Thou shaltnot writ over the door;

So I turn’d tothe Garden of Love,

That so manysweet flowers bore.

And I saw it wasfilled with graves,

And tomb-stoneswhere flowers should be:

And priests inblack gowns, were walking their

rounds,

And binding withbriars, my joys and desires.

—William Blake

 

JESUS IS COMING, for saxophone quartet and

ghettoblaster, wasoriginally scored for recorder

quartet. However, itbecame clear that, even

amplified, theseinstruments were not suitable for

the piece. I neededmore expression, so in 2004 I

arranged it for saxophonequartet.

The soundtrack isbased on street sounds, like voice

samples from a veryangry evangelist in Times

Square and a smallSalvation Army choir. For some

people, in theseconfusing times, it’s about time

that Jesus is coming…

The rhythmical patternsare based on baby talk by

Welmoed, an18-month-old girl next door.

Jesus! Jesus!

you’ve got…Jesus!

God says:

Love is gonna bebrought here by Christ!

God says:

They shall surelybe put to death!

Armageddon!Armageddon! Armageddon!

The filth, thescum of the earth!

God kills!

Evil and wickedand perverse!

God kills, youidiots!

Is he out of hismind?

What do youthink?

I don’t know…sort of… ha ha ha ha

Armageddon!

Jesus is comingJesus!

Love is gonna bebrought here by Christ!

God says: killersgo to hell!

Why did not yourmother kill you?

God says: killersgo to hell!

We all sing fromHis Glory

Why? Why? Why?

God says: Why?

Love—Evil—God

you’ve got God, you’vegot God!

 

 

JACOB TV

Dutch ‘avant pop’composer Jacob TV (aka Jacob

Ter Veldhuis, 1951)started as a rock musician

and studiedcomposition and electronic music

at the GroningenConservatoire, where he was

awarded the DutchComposition Prize in 1980.

During the eightieshe made a name for himself

with melodiouscompositions, straight from the

heart and with greateffect. “I pepper my music

with sugar,” hesays. Jacob TV is preoccupied with

American media andworld events and draws raw

material from thosesources. His work possesses

an explosivestrength and raw energy combined

with extraordinarilyintricate architectural design.

TV makes superb useof electronics, incorporating

sound bytes frompolitical speeches, commercials,

interviews, talkshows, TVangelists, and what have

you—a colorfulmix of high and low culture. Long

queues at the boxoffice for the four-day Jacob TV

Festival inRotterdam in 2001 already attested to

the growingpopularity of this composer, both in the

Netherlands andabroad. His Goldrush Concerto,the

Third StringQuartet and several of hisso-called

boombox pieces like GrabIt! became hits, and

variouschoreographers have been inspired by

his music. Early inhis career, Jacob TV already

stood up to what hecalled the ‘washed-out avant

garde’, which made hima controversial figure in

certain circles. Hestrives to liberate new music

from its isolationby employing a direct—at times

provocative—idiomthat spurns ‘the dissonant’,

which in TV’s viewreflects a completely devalued

means of musicalexpression. His ‘coming-out’

as a composer ofultra-tonal, mellifluous music

reached its climaxwith the video oratorio Paradiso.

In May 2007, theWhitney Museum of American Art

organized athree-day festival about his music in

New York City.

www.jacobterveldhuis.com

Liner notes byJacob ter Veldhuis

Edited by AlyssaTimin

 

Pitch Black,Postnuclear Winterscenario No. 10, andJesus Is Coming

produced by thePRISM Quartet.

Billie produced by Evan Richey.

Grab It! produced by Matthew Levy.

The Garden ofLove produced by ClarkeRigsby.

Mastered by MatthewLevy.

Pitch Black, GrabIt!, Postnuclear Winterscenario No. 10, and Jesus Is Coming

edited and mixed byMatthew Levy.

Billie edited and mixed by Evan Richey at OvationSound, Winston-Salem, NC.

The Garden ofLove edited and mixed byClarke Rigsby, Tempest Recording, Tempe, AZ.

Audio consultant:Julie Henn.

Design and layout:fl uxism.com.

PRISM Quartetphotograph by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Made with generoussupport from the William Penn Foundation.

Innova is supportedby an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Director: Philip Blackburn;Operations Manager: Chris Campbell; www.innova.mu.

Pitch Black,Postnuclear Winterscenario No. 10,

and Jesus IsComing recorded May 3, 2007

at Sine Studios,Philadelphia, PA.

Recording engineers:

Matt Teacher andMike Lawson.

Billie recorded September 20, 2007

at Ovation Sound,Winston-Salem, NC.

Recording engineer:Evan Richey.

Grab It! recorded September 20, 2007

at Sine Studios,Philadelphia, PA.

Recording engineers:

Matt Teacher andMike Lawson.

The Garden ofLove recorded May 15, 2007

at TempestRecording, Tempe, AZ.

Recording engineer:Clarke Rigsby.