These compositions represent a time of development for me when I was reconciling my roots as a listener with my progress as a player and composer. I grew up listening to many shades of pop and rock music; jazz was not chiefly among the styles that frequented my listening queue. I became involved in the jazz ensembles in my schools only a few years after beginning instruction on the saxophone, but I favored the rock and funk charts that we played and more or less tolerated the swing charts.
However, by the time I went to study at Boston University, I had gained a greater appreciation for traditional jazz despite my still strong leanings toward fusion. While in Boston, I was blessed to have 2 fantastic teachers --my "legit" teacher (both figuratively and literally, as BU's music department was staunchly classically oriented) and also one with whom I studied jazz "on the side." Both teachers were profoundly effective on a multitude of fronts, and I gained a focus and direction in both playing and composing that still remains today. My understanding of traditional jazz grew exponentially during this time and I began to utilize elements of it and also of modern classical music (particularly evident, I think, in Covenant). As a player, I was still more "at home" in the straight-8ths style, but my compositional vocabulary began to expand and I found new territory at every turn.
The material included here highlights this transition. The performances are not always perfect, but it is a fitting snapshot of where I was musically during this time. I was fortunate to have had a multitude of collaborators who definitively understood my intentions and each piece retained the character and effect that I had conceived, and it was a joyful experience to record the music. I only hope you will have as much enjoyment while listening.
Breathing Space & 4am: 1995
Personnel: Matt Doebler (keyboards), Thad DeBrock (guitar), Andy Pfaff (bass), Matt Kroninger (drums)
Beauty of the Beast, Covenant, and End of Time (Parts 1-3): 1996
Personnel: Lath Freymiller (trumpet), Matt Doebler (keyboards), Joe Napoli (guitar), Benn Rose (bass), Mike Klova (drums)
---End of Time is a "multimovement work" with thematic and harmonic connections, and is also programmatic in its depiction of an apocalyptic event and the precedent moments and moods of foreboding, respite, and ultimately panic and chaos.
As Luck Would Have It: 1997
Personnel: Jon Follett (piano), Jon McCusker (bass), Evan Pazner (drums)
---This was a live recording from the Marshall Room on the Campus of Boston University.
Hawk Mountain: 2001
Personnel: Martha Michael (trumpet), Harry Gould (guitar), Andrew Korbel (bass), Racey Gilbert (drums)