Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blue Shades

As its title suggests, Blue Shades alludes to the blues, and a jazz feeling is prevalent; however, it is not literally a blues piece. There is not a single 12-bar blues progression in this piece by acclaimed American composer Frank Ticheli, and except for a few isolated sections, the eighth note is not swung. The work, however, is heavily influenced by the blues: “blue notes” (flatted 3rds, 5ths, and 7ths) are used constantly; blues harmonies, rhythms, and melodic idioms pervade the work; and many “shades of blue” are depicted, from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot blue. A clarinet solo recalls Benny Goodman’s hot playing style, and ushers in a series of “wailing” brass chords recalling the train whistle effects commonly used during that era. (Source: Published Score)

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