This is an energetic orchestral fanfare that I composed on a flight to San Francisco. The thematic material came to me during a nap and I developed the rest during the long plane flight. It doesn’t always come so easily, but when it does… it’s a beautiful thing! Along with some mixed meters, I include jazz-influenced lydian-dominant modes and octatonic scales which challenged the string players. With strings, it is best to keep them busy and challenged. No one wants to play half and whole note pads in music.
No Earthly Idea is a modern jazz work written for and performed by SHIM, an avant-jazz goup loved (and hated) by many in the Tampa Bay area. Inspired by Henry Threadgill’s Very, Very Circus group, No Earthly Idea balances structure with free improvisation. That sense of balance is a crucial element of my writing, no matter the style. The area players were David Pate (sax), David Irwin (clarinet), Keith Hedger (trumpet), Jim Stewart (drums), Matt Fagen (bass) and myself on trombone.
Coco is a fusion of jazz with Northeastern Brazilian Baião. The opening rubato sections ends around :47 and the rhythmic Baião begins. I find the unique rhythms and modes of Brazilian music to be fascinating and fresh compared to straight-ahead jazz. The musicians are all great area players including Jose Valentino Ruiz – flute, Jeremy Douglass – piano, Alfredo Rivero – guitar, Alejandro Arenas – bass, Andrea Moraes Manson – percussion, Mark Feinman – drums and your truly on trombone.
Crossdrift is a modern jazz composition that I composed for the group Fluid Motion, with jazz legend Sam Rivers. Sam performed with Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor, Tony Williams, Dave Holland and many other innovative artists. Sam was a mentor to many younger musicians including myself. The fact that he was eager and willing to perform and record my music was a gift that I will never forget. The CD Fluid Motion was reviewed very well in JazzTimes and Downbeat magazines. Jazz Critic Duck Baker’s review states: “Fluid motion serves both as a reminder of the presence of a lion in our midst and a promise of brilliant things to come from Manson and Powell. But it is the beautiful way that it all comes together that earns my vote for jazz record of the year.”