These works are original compositions by David “Elaine” Alt, but they draw on a rich tradition of Jazz greats, who are indicated after each title [ in brackets. ] Sometimes the inspirations are from very specific songs or instrumental approaches, and sometimes the influences are overlapping and distilled.
These artists whose influence is most apparent are listed to provide a point of departure. We proudly honor, embrace and attempt to channel the diverse Jazz tradition, while staking out our own ground.
Please visit the self-immolation.info website for more information about the recordings, artists and sheet music (published by Aural Imaging, BMI.)
I hope you enjoy this music, and please get in touch.
D. Elaine Alt
Blues is the heart and soul of Jazz, and is indelibly present.
5) Roberta, Roberta [ Louis Jordan, Dexter Gordon ]
1) Oxtail Soup [ Horace Silver, Charles Mingus ]
2) Bike Lanes (Coming) [ Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner ]
11) Bike Lanes (Going) [ Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Gil Scott Heron ]
Roberta, Roberta has the kick of a jump blues. Screamin’, moanin’ and wailin’–this ditty gets down with an old-fashioned, unlaquered sound. Harmonically it is nothin’ fancy, but has an invigorating bridge in waltz time, and a little slyness at the end to support its lyric.
Oxtail Soup is a savory Jazz Blues whose recipe is a solid twelve-bar form with a swinging bridge on the side. Soup’s tried-and-true chord substitution flavorings are indescribably tasty; generously punctuated with breaks, it builds using contrasting textures of walking, two-feel and double-time 6/8 choruses.
Bike Lanes is like a mass of wheels that never stop turning, even at traffic control signals. So look out! Raw, punctuated and deceptive, it captures the cadence of a blues and never lets go. Warning: serious earworm material.
Instant classics, as fresh and appropriate today as they would be in 1948.
3) 44 Magnum [ Bernard Hermann, Billy Strayhorn ]
6) Series of Adjustments [ Thelonious Monk, Lester Young ]
9) A Classic Base [ Nat King Cole, Eric Dolphy ]
44 Magnum is a ballad that instantly transforms the mood of a room, evoking both sultry and lonely notes. The trumpet and alto saxophone collaborate on telling a story, taking you on a journey that crescendos with hope and resolves with beauty.
Series of Adjustments alters your alignment with its angular and syncopated take on the venerable institution of “I Got Rhythm” changes. Soloists stretch out and counterpose the traditional Rhythm chords with Series’ own mad bebop progression, punctuated and smoking.
A Classic Base is lyrical swing that recalls the innocence and earnestness of a first kiss. It is wistful and melodic almost to a fault, saved by a wonderful dizzyness of vintage instrumental overlapping.
Adventurous compositions that blur the lines between inside and out.
8) Self-Immolation [ Johannes Brahms, Bill McHenry ]
4) Cupcake Flavor Profile [ Tadd Dameron, Ahmad Jamal ]
10) Rising [ Wayne Shorter, Abbey Lincoln ]
7) This Unmemorable Evening [ George Russell, Steve Lacy ]
As the signature song of this album, Self-Immolation observes an immortal transformation from ashes to ashes. It elaborates a process of self-reflection and expansion that ends up sounding like Ethiopian Jazz. Germanic and organic, it is a symbiotic, lyrical and poignant fanfare and counterpoint.
Rising is a love song and mantra with devotional, ecstatic and pragmatic moments. Featuring extended instrumentation (voice and woodwind trio), it showcases textures associated with sublime infatuation that otherwise lie silent and implied.
Cupcake Flavor Profile is a vertiginous and winding call to arms, to and fro An anthem-like confection with a bebop bridge.
This Unmemorable Evening is a waltz danced by obsession and isolation, with schizophrenic bass and breakdown.