(excerpt-Fugue & Shout Chorus)

VIEW SCORE (excerpt): Prelude, Fugue, & Shout Chorus (SCORE–PDF)


Despite my great admiration for Bach and his mastery of counterpoint, I had never written a fugue. I wanted to attempt a piece in strict counterpoint, but I also wanted to avoid repeating the tired exercise of the “school fugue” that has been exhausted by countless students over the past two centuries. I decided that my fugue would be a jazz saxophone quartet based on a short be-bop subject, but one that adhered to all the “rules” that guided Bach. The Prelude is an homage to Duke Ellington’s melancholy, lyrical ballads, and to the pitch-bending style of Duke’s legendary alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. This first movement is slower and more free in form, which again follows the prelude-fugue model often employed by Bach.

Of course, no jazz quartet would be complete without a Shout Chorus, a standard climactic point of a jazz tune at which all instruments play together. This ending section emerges from the fugue without a break, and provides the greatest departure from the eighteenth-century model on which this piece is primarily based. However, no fugue can end without a final statement of the theme, so the piece closes with a brief restatement of the subject in each of the four voices, followed by a short coda.







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