Alto Saxophone and Percussion Ensemble
(1+8 players) 3 Movements, (1993) ca. 8′
Full instrumentation: Eb Alto Saxophone, Vibraphone, Marimba, Chimes, Timpani, Congas (2 or 3), Timbales (2), Tom (2), Bass Drum, Sand Blocks, Claves, Triangle, Cowbell (more cowbell!!), Tambourine, Suspended Cymbal, Hi-Hat, Brake Drums (2), Whistle
Premiered by the University of Minnesota Percussion Ensemble, Fernando Meza, director, with Richard Dirlam, Saxophone.
Listen to a performance of the 2nd movement, with Anthony Canestro and the Queens College Percussion Ensemble:
Score and parts available for hard-copy purchase from Steve Weiss Music, or purchase a PDF of the score and parts via PayPal for $25.
Subsequent notable performances include: Queens College Percussion Ensemble, Michael Lipsey, Director, with Anthony Canestro; Columbus State University Percussion Ensemble, Paul Vaillancourt, Director, with Amy Griffiths; North Carolina School of the Arts Percussion Ensemble, John Beck, Director, with Taimur Sullivan; and Interlochen Percussion Ensemble, Kim Burja, Director, with Timothy McCallister. Recorded in 2012 by Saxophonist Amy Griffiths and the Columbus State University Percussion Ensemble. The Audio CD is also available here.
A composer can only really express their perception of the world through the filter of their own experience, and since my earliest musical experiences revolved around singing and drumming, I often incorporate in my writing elements of popular and/or world music that are most compelling to me, within the context of continuing a concert music tradition. Written in 1993 while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Fist Through Traffic is a three-movement work that comes from this impulse.
The title of the work comes from a line from a Paul Simon song as an homage (I was listening to his Rhythm of the Saints album quite a lot at that time) and to reflect my sympathy for his approach to songwriting, which in the long run has also been about integrating diverse elements from outside his native experience or from outside the expectations of the genre into his personal style.