My recital audition was Wednesday. I was very pleased with how it went, and the professors seemed to dig it too, so I'm officially approved to recite on Sunday, March 6, 2011. It's free and open to the public, so you're welcome to drop by if you're around San Diego: 2pm at Smith Recital Hall on the SDSU campus.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into the audition. I knew the format, but I didn't know how critically I'd be judged. The purpose was to take an hour with my band and the three jazz professors to run through an abbreviated version of my recital program and ensure that it will up to par for a graduate-level jazz recital.
I had taken my band through a handful of rehearsals in the last month, and they were sounding solid. But it's no mystery to the professors or myself that my soloing is on the weak side for a Master of Music candidate in jazz studies. I've improved immensely over the last year, but my concern was whether it would be enough. Turns out it was. I have plenty of room to sharpen these tunes over the next month, but I'm now more confident that it's going to be a great show.
I get the impression that I'm excessively organized. I've never been involved with my classmates' recitals, so I don't have a good idea of how to execute this kind of project. I put together a web page a few months ago for my band members to access example recordings, background info on each tune, and PDFs of all the charts in case they lose the hard copies I print for them. Program notes are not required and rarely provided for jazz recitals at SDSU, but I want my audience to know what the tunes are about. I write and perform all my tunes in a certain context, and it adds to the listener's experience to know where I'm coming from. So at the audition I gave the professors a big manila envelope of my set list, a rough draft of my program notes (easily adapted from the band's info page), and a lead sheet or score for all ten tunes. I guess that amount of preparation is uncommon. I just wanted to guarantee that I wouldn't fail the audition, so I went all out.
I made one substitution to the program since posting My Working Recital Set List back in November. As of audition time, here's what it looked like:
"The Nearness of You" - Hoagy Carmichael (solo guitar)
"Remember Rockefeller at Attica" - Charles Mingus
"Trinkle, Tinkle" - Thelonious Monk
"Bashert" - Jason Parker, arr. Joe Walker
"A Little Pain" - Bobby Bradford
"Miss Information" - Joe Walker
"Recruitment Bonanza" - Joe Walker
"The Kármán Line" - Joe Walker
"Wacky Misadventure" - Joe Walker
"Defending Their Turf" - Joe Walker
The only suggestion from the panel was to move "Nearness" to open the second set. As a solo guitar ballad, it provides a distinct contrast to the rest of the program. I agreed. I may shuffle some others around as a consequence.
More updates coming as the big day approaches!