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Magnolia Suite (Ballet suite of six classic jazz pieces for small orchestra or brass quintet - 17 mins 35 secs)

Riverboat Shuffle by Gabrielle Hill

"In a Mist" for small orchestra - 60 second MP3 sample (495k).

Orchestral version for hire. Brass quintet version - for sale in book form only, as a suite of 6 pieces.

Line-up:- Flt., ob., clt, bsn. Hn, tpt, tbn. Perc.[various]. Vlns1[5 desks], vlns2[4], vle[3], celli[2], bassi[1].

Please specify if extra string parts are required.

Conceived as one of a pair of linked ballets, 'Magnolia Suite' together with its partner 'Jazz Colours' set out to explore the theatrical potential of the music and atmosphere of early jazz. 'Magnolia Suite' is a collection of classic jazz pieces, compiled by jazz band leader Chris Barber and British composer Richard Hill, to illustrate some of the quintessential elements which formed the spirit of the Jazz Age. These stylistically authentic settings for small orchestra or brass quintet reflect a period from the 1890's through to around 1930 and include rare and beautiful works of the era. This collection of some of the gems of early jazz creates an atmosphere rich in the innocence, charm and vitality of this ' music from the land of dreams' and it offers a wonderful inspiration for creative choreography.


01. Pleasant Moments - Scott Joplin (3m 21secs).

61 second MP3 sample - Grosse Rundfunk Orchester Berlin (475k).

56 seconds MP3 sample - London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble (435k).

Written in 1909, this piece is a rarity indeed. Very few ragtime waltzes were ever written and this is one of the most delicately beautiful. It illustrates perfectly how ragtime evolved from European Victorian parlour music. In its gentle, subtle syncopation you can hear the beginnings of an endearing style which would find an everlasting place in the history of music.


02. Harlem Rag - Tom Turpin (2m 34secs).

71 second MP3 sample - orchestra - GRoB (556k).

65 seconds MP3 sample - B5t - LGBE (505k).

One of the earliest published rags, written in 1897 by Tom Turpin, a contemporary of Joplin and a native of Sedalia, Missouri. Sedalia was an important centre in the history of ragtime. Ample employment created an economy which encouraged musical activity to develop and prosper. Harlem Rag, with its unstoppable sense of sheer enjoyment of the genre, is very much an archetype of all we expect to hear from a ragtime piece.


03. Mamie's Blues - Mamie Desdumes (2m 45secs).

70 second MP3 sample - orchestra - GRoB (544k).

44 seconds MP3 sample - B5t - LGBE (345k).

"That was the earliest blues I ever done heard". Coming from Jelly Roll Morton, dandy, pimp, gambler, piano player, self-proclaimed "inventor of jazz", the great Mr Jelly Lord himself, that was a remarkably generous statement. So he didn't claim to have invented the blues! But he did hear Mamie's Blues and eventually recorded it. Whatever else he may have been, Jelly Roll was a wonderful pianist and in some sense his claim that he invented jazz was not altogether preposterous. Here in 'Mamie's Blues' is a perfect example of the utter classical simplicity and dignity of the early piano blues.


04. Policy King March - Anon (2m 37secs).

49 seconds MP3 sample - B5t - LGBE (386k).

An amazing piece of music with what appears to be a minstrel band pedigree. The original recording, made in the 1920's, consisted of what sounded like a banjo players' convention with the odd trombone and trumpet joining in. The Charleston of course, was perhaps the definitive dance of the Jazz Age of the twenties. And you will never hear a crazier version of it than this one!


05. Pine Top's Boogie Woogie Woogie - Pine Top Smith/Richard Hill/Chris Barber (3m 10secs).

60 seconds MP3 sample - B5t - LGBE (463k).

The rolling, pumping piano style of boogie woogie has always occupied its own private niche in the history of jazz. It has remained undeveloped to this day and everybody knows what boogie woogie sounds like. By adding an extra ‘woogie’ to the time signature, Richard and Chris have indulged in a little evolution of their own, giving a new slant to this twenties original by Pine Top Smith, who first popularised the term ‘boogie woogie’.


06. In A Mist - Bix Beiderbecke (3m 04secs).

66 second MP3 sample - orchestra - GRoB (509k).

67 second MP3 sample - B5t - LGBE (525k).

Originally a piano composition written down and recorded in 1927 with the help of his arranger friend Bill Challis, In A Mist illustrates an inner paradox which preoccupied Bix for most of his life. Although totally dedicated to jazz, Bix was not unaware of the works of composers such as Debussy, Delius, Holst and Ravel and he was musically drawn towards their use of complex, chromatic harmony. In A Mist encapsulates these differing influences and creates a strangely beautiful hybrid, a complete and evocative piece of chamber music in its own right.


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