solo alto saxophone
3 minutes

Shorlty before I composed this piece, I was demonstrating the saxophone for a small group of 5 year olds at a local primary school. Unfortunately two of the children would not listen to anything I had to say and so I decided that in order to get their attention I would sneak up behind them and play the loudest note I could. I achieved the desired silence but unfortunately the little boy turned to the little girl and punched her in the face!

Needless to say, it was a memorable moment and shortly afterwards I wrote what has become my most performed piece.

About Black & Blue
Black & Blue creates a ‘one-man-band’ by asking the saxophonist to simulate various other instruments during this energetic 3 minute unaccompanied piece. Beginning with solo bass guitar, the saxophone intersperses with short bluesy phrases and angular jazz rhythms. Moving into a chordal section the bass guitar motif is joined by electric guitar. This aggressive effect is achieved by the saxophone playing multiphonics (more than one note at a time).

More saxophone phrases continue to intermix with the band moving into a change of feel that begins with a bass guitar solo joined by distorted chordal guitar.

The saxophones multiphonics create the distortion like effect heightening the tension. This is relieved by the introduction of  a new instrument – the drum kit. By beating the keys in a rhythmic fashion of the saxophonist must produce precise and ‘groovy’ drum solo complete with fills.

The final section brings the piece to a dramatic conclusion with intense ‘wa-wa’ effects reminiscent of 1960’s rock guitar. The circular breathing, rapid repeated notes and bluesy phrases culminate in the final coda of the piece. Something of cliché in rock music, the saxophone wails high notes descending through a catchy blues line to bring the piece to its natural conclusion.

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