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Blue Shades The title alludes to the Blues and a jazz feeling is prevalent, but this is not literally a Blues piece (no 12-bar Blues progressions and hardly any swung eighth-notes). It is heavily influenced by the Blues however, with "Blue notes" (flatted 3rds, 5ths, and 7ths); Blues harmonies, rhythms and melodic idioms; and many "shades of blue" depicted: from bright to dark, to dirty, to hot. At times, the piece burlesques some of the cliches from the Big Band era, not as mockery, but as tribute. A slow and quiet middle section recalls the atmosphere of a dark, smoky Blues haunt with fascinating solos by bass clarinet and oboe. An extended, gutsy, clarinet solo recalls Benny Goodman's hot style and ushers in a series of wailing brass chords recalling train whistle effects commonly used during that era. High energy and jazzy sounds build to a critical mass, a pressure cooker of excitement. The final stroke on the splash cymbal reminds the listener that this piece is a friendly tribute to an earlier style.
Frank Ticheli (b.1958) was born in Monroe, LA. He earned a doctorate at the University of Michigan. He lives in Los Angeles where he is a Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California.
Last updated on April 3, 2012 by Palatine Concert Band