Circa 1980
Catalog Number: J115

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John Cheek, PIANIST
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Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: Statements, Sonata No. 2 (1975)
Donald Martino: Fantasies and Impromptus (1981)
Both Donald Martino (1931-2005) and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) are composers who have intense affinities with jazz (Martino plays clarinet and Perkinson, the piano). The admixture of jazz and serial composition may seem incongruous at first until we consider that other American composers using serial technique have also been strongly attracted to the other art form. Indeed, for so many American composers in the twentieth century, jazz is arguably as much a determiner of identity as any of the various schools of composition in which they were trained (or founded, for that matter). However, 'jazzy-sounding' concert music easily becomes musical kitsch. Thoughtful composers are then forced to declare, with Debussy, 'How much we must first find, and then suppress in order to reach the naked flesh of emotion.' In the case of the two works recorded here, the composers seem guided by the deepest respect for jazz. One might say that a profound understanding of the human condition intrinsic to jazz is at the root of these highly original works rather than any set of musical gestures per se. Still the sound of the pieces does, at times, reflect the sound of jazz, each in its own way. Rather than a reflection, both compositions refract the strong beams of jazz and serial composition with a brilliance that is too variegated, too faithfully realized to ever sink into what is too pat or derivative.