Meridian Arts Ensemble

Seven Kings

Innova 943



Daniel Grabois

01        Migration        7:14


David Sanford

Seven Kings:

02        Prologue          4:36

03        Contrapunctus I           4:26

04        Chimes            3:48

05        Contrapunctus II         6:30

06        Act V   3:12


Dave Ballou

07        for brass quintet

            and percussion            12:46


Edward Jacobs

08        Passed Time    14:24


Robert Maggio


09        Extreme Western Frontiers                                         2:38

10        Unfamiliar Terrain       2:55

11        Thrown Into a World  2:43

12        With Nobody’s Help

            (Lost and Badly Wounded)                                         5:19

13        Opened to the Fragility

            (Slipping Away)          4:22




Meridian Arts Ensemble


Jon Nelson and Tim Leopold - trumpets

Daniel Grabois - horn

Benjamin Herrington - trombone

Raymond Stewart - tuba

John Ferrari - percussion


With guest Dave Ballou ñ trumpet (Sanford)


Executive Producer - Meridian Arts Ensemble

Producer - Jon Nelson

Engineering and Mastering - Chris Jacobs

Session Producers - Dave Ballou (Ballou), Adam Unsworth (all others)


Recorded at Slee Recital Hall, Department of Music, The University at Buffalo (SUNY), in 2011.


University at Buffalo personnel:

Slee Concert Office - Phillip Rehard

Concert Committee - David Felder

Music Department Chair - Jeffrey Stadelman

Special thanks to Andrew Rindfleisch, Adam Unsworth, and C. Jared Sacks.


This album is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Gustavo Rosales Morales.


Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design

Chris Campbell, operations director

Steve McPherson, publicist


All of the music on this disc is written by old friends, and all of it is long overdue for release. Both Revolver, by Robert Maggio, and Migration, by Meridian hornist Daniel Grabois, were written in the last millennium, and the MAE has performed them countless times. David Sanford, Edward Jacobs, and Dave Ballou are all old friends of the group’s as well. Playing great music with great colleagues; that makes a musician’s life a happy one.

- Meridian Arts Ensemble


Daniel Grabois

Migration (1996)


In 1996, the Meridian Arts Ensemble was engaged to play at the Chautauqua Festival, in western New York. The festival was honoring the composer Franz Schubert that year, and the festival organizers asked us if we could play some music by Schubert as part of our concert. We dutifully found some arrangements of music by this great composer, and found that his delicate compositional style fit quite poorly with the sound of the brass quintet (much less brass quintet with drum set). I offered to compose a piece for the group based on Schubert’s music, and the festival generously accepted this alternative plan. Migration, the result of that project, is loosely based on the melodic and harmonic material from Schubert’s song Der König in Thule, a song I had always liked playing on the horn. The only direct quote from the song is largely masked by a thunderous drum solo. Since that concert in Chautauqua, we have performed the work hundreds of times. Many thanks to my Meridian colleagues for making possible, at last, the recording of this piece!

- Daniel Grabois


David Sanford

Seven Kings (2010)


The title of Seven Kings is a reference to Five Kings, a play by Orson Welles which is a conglomeration of five Shakespeare plays as well as the basis for Wellesís film Chimes at Midnight (1965). The gist of Seven Kings is a re-imagining of the highly complex counterpoint of the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band, which featured the very young Louis Armstrong alongside New Orleans’s leading jazz figure of the time, Joe ìKingî Oliver. This influence suggested the additional third improvising trumpet in Seven Kings. The composition was written for the Meridian Arts Ensemble, with whom the composer has shared a long musical kinship, and for Dave Ballou, whose work as a leader, composer, and soloist is an inspiration.


Seven Kings was commissioned by the Festival of New Trumpet Music for the Meridian Arts Ensemble and made possible by the Chamber Music America Commissioning Program, with funding generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

- David Sanford


Dave Ballou

for brass quintet and percussion (2007)


As an improviser, I have to ponder the question ìWhy compose at all I believe there is very little difference between improvisation and composition. In fact, I will go as far as to say they are the same process, differing only in time scale. Saxophonist Steve Lacy was quoted as saying “the difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to think about what to say in 15 seconds, while in improvisation you have 15 seconds.” For me, composition is notated improvisation and improvisation is instantaneous composition. for brass quintet and percussion comes from this perspective.


Support for the creation of for brass quintet and percussion was provided by a Towson University Faculty Development and Research Committee Award.

- Dave Ballou


Edward Jacobs

Passed Time (2006)


The chorale of Passed Time’s final minute was the first music written for this piece, and the whole became a working out of that chorale’s harmonic phrasing, its pauses and rhythms, and its melodic shapes. Reimagining and reinterpreting this material led to a wide variety of musical characters - passages quick, lyrical, or perhaps humorous; in unison, contrapuntally, or in hocket. The music’s mood is often quick-changing and, with an ensemble like MAE’s musicians who’re able to turn on a dime - these moods may seem to be the components of a mercurial personality experiencing similar ideas (the chorale) through the perspective of time’s passing.


This recording was supported in part by a grant from the East Carolina University College of Fine Arts & Communications.

- Edward Jacobs


Robert Maggio

Revolver (1996)


Revolver began as a musical response to Jim Jarmusch’s haunting western Dead Man. The movement titles were drawn from an interview with Jarmusch, in which he describes the film as the story of a young man’s journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror and emerges into a previously unknown world that exists on the other side.


Revolver was composed for the Meridian Arts Ensemble and supported by a grant from the West Chester University of Pennsylvania Faculty Development Fund.

- Robert Maggio