Cancelled: Mike Cameron '22 DMA, Jazz Saxophone
In the course of completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at New England Conservatory, performance majors present not just one, but three full-length recitals, for which they also write program notes. It's an opportunity to observe multiple facets of an emerging artist.
Mike Cameron '22 DMA studies Jazz Saxophone and has worked with Jason Moran, Jerry Bergonzi, Donny McCaslin, Ethan Iverson, Brian Levy, and Miguel Zenón,
George Bassman | I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
John Coltrane | 26-2
Johnny Green | Body and Soul
Dizzy Gillespie | Dizzy Atmosphere
Mike Cameron | Untitled
Anthony Newley | Feelin' Good
Tin Hat | Beverley's March
Chick Corea (arr. Mike Cameron) | Tones for Joan's Bones
Herbie Hancock (arr. Gil Goldstein) | And What If I Don't?
Griffin Woodard, bass clarinet
Isaac Dubow, trumpet
Ian Buss, tenor saxophone
Rowan Burcham, piano
Andrew Schiller, double bass
Nadav Friedman, drums
Oral transmission is the medium by which the majority of the world’s music is passed to subsequent generations. This recital is a representation of the next best available means of assimilating jazz music when the performer or composer is not immediately accessible: transcription. My first two recitals were showcases of composition and arranging; my final effort today will feature the culmination of the past year’s transcription projects and add a fair amount of improvisation for good measure.
A bootleg recording exists (on minidisc of all platforms) of a jam session that took place at Small’s Jazz Club from 2001 of the first set of an unknown quintet of alto sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. I have listened to the alto man’s solo over I’m Getting Sentimental Over Youfor years and am still to this day inspired by his tone, rhythmic inflections and mastery of the bebop language. This opening number is a transcription of his exact solo with an improvised “head-out”.
The chord matrix that Coltrane crafted with his 1959 release of Giant Steps was used on many tunes throughout the 1960s and has always proved to be a challenge on which to improvise. Studying this matrix in Dr. Brian Levy’s Coltrane class along with transcribing some of Kurt Rosenwinkle’s ideas from a live 2016 performance has provided a bit of comfortability on 26-2.
Body and SoulandDizzy Atmosphere are two standards in the jazz repertoire I have played for years, but at a surface level. Ideas for the former were borrowed from a 1958 Sonny Rollins solo performance (along with hints of the Coltrane matrix) and I finally was able to “lift” the soli on the “head-out” of the latter. Untitled concludes the solo saxophone portion of the recital, which features a vamp a-la Chris Potter’s Underground album in a dominant key, with a contrasting bridge section in 6/8. This was an opportunity for me to compose a tune solely on saxophone, as opposed to piano.
Feelin’ Good is from a relatively unknown Coltrane record from 1965 which features the classic quartet, plus another bassist, Art Davis. I have always known this piece to be a “singer tune” and was blown away when I heard how Coltrane played the melody and improvised over it. I have transcribed Coltrane’s rendition of the melody and will be performing a portion of his improvised solo.
Tin Hat Trio is an acoustic chamber ensemble that defies genre categorization. At times they sound like Piazzolla from another dimension and at other points they invite Willie Nelson to croon with them. I have transcribed Beverley’s March, a tune with a simple ABAC form with a static harmonic improvisation section, and transposed the usual piano, guitar, violin and cello for this quintet arrangement. Chick Corea’s untimely passing last year has I think brought us all back for a closer investigation of his compositional genius. Tones for Joan’s Bones is from the
eponymous 1966 trio recording and my arrangement here borrows some of his piano voicings for a four-horn combination along with a modern rhythmic reimagining of the contrasting sections.
Finally, the SF Jazz Collective has been an inspiration to me for almost twenty years and my transcription of Gil Goldstein’s arrangement of And What If I Don’t? has been a project I have always wanted to undertake. The challenge here was to extract the close and crunchy horn and vibraphone voicings and transpose them for a slightly different orchestration featuring bass clarinet.
I would like to thank my parents for their never-ending love
and also my professors for their guidance during my time at NEC.
Special thanks for the musicians who took the time to rehearse
and perform this music today.