On the Good Foot (in memoriam James Brown) (2007) for large mixed chamber ensemble
1111(+alto sax & ten. sax) 1110 1 perc.(drum set) pno., elec. bass, 2 sopranos, 2 vns., va., vc.
On the Good Foot is a tribute to late soul and funk legend James Brown. I idolized James Brown growing up listening to his tireless grooves and impossibly tight band. I remember spending hours learning to sing his phrasings, figuring out those amazing syncopations and even copying his dance moves. After his death on Christmas Day of 2006 I decided to write this work. Almost every single musical idea in this piece can be traced to a James Brown recording, from a fragment of a Maceo Parker sax solo to the super!funky grooves of “Mother Popcorn” and “Cold Sweat.” Though saddened by the loss of one of the most influential pop artists of the 20th century, I am deeply grateful for the music he left behind which has always been one of my great inspirations. This piece was commissioned and premiered by the Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire in April, 2007.
[Performance Notes: The ensemble should be lightly amplified to balance sound. At the very least, the sopranos and strings are required. The sopranos should be mixed evenly with the ensemble (like backup vocalists) with a small amount of reverb, not out in front of the mix. Ideally, the singers should have experience singing R&B.]
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