I just reserved a date for my recital at SDSU: 6 March 2011. Nothing's final yet, as I need to finish making charts, put a group together, rehearse, and audition my recital program in early February. If I don't pass that audition, then no recital.
I've been brainstorming ideas for tunes to include and types of tunes to compose for the last eight months. I've recently focused in on a potential set list. These tunes are not in order, and every one of them is subject to change, but it's nice to have a target list to work with. The graduate recital requirements specify that I need 9-11 tunes, at least three of which are mine, and at least two of which are from a given list of composers. The Mingus and Monk tunes below satisfy the latter requirement.
"Remember Rockefeller at Attica" - Charles Mingus
I only know of this tune because of its presence on the graduate audition repertoire. I considered it but passed it up for my auditions to the program last year. (See the first one, results, and the second one.) It's a light, fast, tricky head with a straight ahead swing feel. I dig Andy Summers's recording. I'm not sure exactly what the political statement is, whether it's that Rockefeller shouldn't have been absent from the scene during the Attica incident, or that he should not have ordered the retaking of the prison by force, but I like it either way.
"Trinkle, Tinkle" - Thelonious Monk
This head is a beast on guitar. It's as angular and playful as any Monk tune, with an added challenge to the chops. All that two-hand tapping from my high school days is coming in handy.
"A Little Pain" - Bobby Bradford
I took Jazz History and Jazz Ensemble from Bobby Bradford at Pomona College while I was doing my undergrad at Harvey Mudd. Bobby ranks among the funniest people I've ever met, and he's a legendary jazz man. He had personal stories about all the greats. I've seen him perform his own compositions several times, and "A Little Pain" is my favorite. It's a dark, intense melody with free-form solos. This is the kind of scary, end-of-the-world jazz I love.
"Bashert" - Jason Parker
I first learned of Seattle trumpeter Jason Parker from his blog, One Working Musician. I was a frequent reader, because he's doing what I want to do in a city where I'd love to do it, eventually. He brought his quartet to San Diego earlier this year. I went to see them, and I was floored. "Bashert" was my favorite tune of the evening. It's in 3/4, the changes are pretty easy, but they gave it a hell of a groove and took plenty of liberties with the harmony during solos. I intend to arrange a few of those liberties into my own spin on the tune. (Transcribing this was nice, as Jason has the trumpet part in the background on his Twitter page.)
"É Luxo Só" - Ary Barroso
I fell in love with this song in 2008 when I took it upon myself to build my jazz listening foundation. Stan Getz's Jazz Samba is frequently mentioned on lists of top jazz albums, and every time this tune came up, it stood out and drew me in. It's got a really laid back samba feel, and could be done as a guitar/sax duet. I need to finish transcribing this, as no lead sheet for it exists commercially, as far as I can tell.
"The Nearness of You" - Hoagy Carmichael
This is one of my all-time favorite standards. I don't like lyrics much, but I like these. And I can barely hold in happy tears when I hear the Ella and Louis version. It was the first song on the playlist at my wedding, after all the gypsy jazz. I intend to write an arrangement for solo guitar.
"The Kármán Line" - Joe Walker
This tune has some gnarly harmony. It's my first composition using the "Double Lydian" concept I wrote about in one of my very first blog posts: Beyond Conventional Extensions. I have plenty to say about the tune, so I'll give it its own post later.
"Defending Their Turf" - Joe Walker
This is my favorite piece I've written for a class so far. As with "The Kármán Line," I have plenty to say about it, and I'll dedicate a complete post later. It's dark and intense, a more complex take on the "500 Miles High" groove. Its inspiration is the militarization of US police forces.
"Miss Information" - Joe Walker
This uses a blues form, but with a bunch of back-cycling tritone substitutions. It's playful and fast. Read more.
"Wacky Misadventure" - Joe Walker
Still in progress. My first composition with the instruction "disregard the form." It's got a wacky melody and serious potential for disasters or miracles.