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Issa Music – Featured Selection: (13) “West Meets East” January 1, 2013

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “West Meets East”

Background on “West Meets East”: This was the seventh and last of Set Three, the last, the 23rd overall of the Issa pieces recorded between 1988 and 1990. This was a great way to culminate what I had been working on with these pieces. We have a ton of “classical” influences here, along with the jazz/Eastern instrumental component. I start off with a simple rhythmic statement, something akin to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Yes, the ability of the equipment to pitch those tympani drums, and thunder them through the opening statement was a great option to have. I then wound that out into a full-blown classical development section with counter melodies springing out of the original theme and moving around each other through shifting harmonies. The thundering two-measure rhythm of the opening now becomes the soft underpinning of the development section, always there, if well into the background. That short development section comes back to the original statement. This is then followed by an Eastern development section, over the same harmonic structure as the Western “classical” development section, but with improvised lines of exotic woodwinds over pitched drums and syncopated rhythms. The woodwind lines are doubled with strings, bringing a little bit of that “West” into this “East” section. This shifts through timbres and harmonic progressions until we return to the opening statement a third time. After the third statement of the opening theme, there is a short development section that blends the first “Western” “classical” section with the second “Eastern” “improvisational” section. We then finish with a final statement of the main theme, topped off with a thin repeat before concluding. For most of the Issa pieces, I blended jazz and a little pop and rock, with Eastern instruments and modes. I hinted at “classical” style development but only hinted. With “West meets East,” I brought “classical music” elements into the music as a full partner. I was very pleased with the result. I’m not saying every new Issa piece will partner “classical music” techniques with jazz and Eastern as much as “West meets East.” But I will look to do more of this. I’ve begun collecting themes for future pieces.

I have well over enough themes for at least two or three more Issa CDs. I will try to build on “West Meets East,” and the other 22 pieces I produced just over 20 years ago.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

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Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part X December 19, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in American Indian, Andrew Shahriari, blues, book review, books, Canada, ethnomusicology, jazz, music, United States, world music.
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I indicated that my final blog post on this subject would be about Leonard Bernstein’s The Unanswered Question, a discussion of tonality and the nature of music. We will get there, but after a ten-part detour into commentaries on the book World Music: A Global Journey by Terry E. Miller and Andrew Shahriari. This is a logical detour after absorbing Bruno Nettl’s information about ethnomusicology. I will do individual blog posts about each of the areas covered in the book, focusing mainly on the musical examples provided. I will first comment on general observations about the area and the selections provided. I will then post specific notes on each individual selection. These comments are not intended in any way to be definitive exhaustive examinations of the types of music discussed. They are just my comments on the musical examples provided in the context of my discussion of music, physics and metaphysics. (Also, this study will contribute to the new music I am in the process of creating, an effort to meld many international styles together. This is not some politically correct effort to create a global music for humanity. It is simply my fascination, as a composer/music creator, with all the different sorts of musical approaches available to humans. Technology allows me to explore this fascination and create based on it.)

Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part I
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part II
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part III
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part IV
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part V
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part VI
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part VII
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part VIII
Book Commentary/Review – World Music: A Global Journey, Part IX

PART TEN
Canada and the United States

General Comments: This is the music of my home. I enjoy very much the focus on folk traditions, not on current pop or even concert/classical music which I can experience from other sources. And I found some surprises here. A few of the selections focused on what were obviously Celtic traditions that came to the United States and Canada with the Scottish, Irish and English. In this music, we find the some of the same elements from other traditions, like pentatonic scales—yes, the same pentatonic scales we find in many varied cultures. We also hear some good examples of African-influenced music, and two examples of American Indian music. All of this serves to remind me of the huge stew of musical influences already simmering together, and that my desire to do some more melding is in the tradition of my own home culture. Also, elements of this music help the study of music, physics and metaphysics, and the idea of what might be universal in how humans experience music, and what might be culture-specific.

CD 3, Track 17 from World Music: A Global Journey
Canada: CapeBreton Fiddling
This is a basic Scottish/Irish sounding violin ditty. It features a quick triplet rhythm in a minor key, going from i to VII with no hints of the raised 7 found in the conventional harmonic minor scale. The melody cruises along in seconds and thirds, cadencing on a triplet followed by a quarter note, 3-1-1 – 1.

CD 3, Track 18 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States of America: Ballad-Singing
A solo female voice sings a single line melody in a minor key. It migrates up to III, then winds back to cadence on i. The scale/mode is quite similar to the mode used in the little ditty of the previous selection. Even the singer’s accent feels Scottish/Irish. The end cadence is 4-3-1, also a similar move to the 3-1-1 cadence in the previous selection.

CD 3, Track 19 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Old Regular Baptist Lined Hymn
This is a choral piece in a major mode, but with a pentatonic feel. There is a soloist and a solo-response feel like some of the African vocal music. There is no real structured rhythm—the lead vocalist sets whatever rhythm there is based on his rendering of the words. The chorus seems to follow, echoing the soloist.

CD 3, Track 20 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Singing School Shape-Note Music
A chorus sings in a natural minor mode, with a flat 7, no hint of a raised 7 at any point. This music has a very specific rhythm and imitative style, with eighth note figures articulating the rhythm. There is a raw, unrefined quality to the voices that makes this music feel very basic.

CD 3, Track 21 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Bluegrass
This music features a driving 4/4 rhythm with a basic I-IV-I-V progression, laid out by a plucked banjo, mandolin, fiddle/violin and bass. High voices harmonize in tight third/fourths (fit to the chord) rendering the song’s melody. Between the vocal sections, different instruments pop out with solos over the chords. There is no percussion in this ensemble. The bass and mandolin lay out the rhythm most of the time. I was really surprised to learn that this music comes from the mid Twentieth Century, after jazz, blues, and not long before rock.

CD 3, Track 22 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: African-American Spiritual
This is vocal music in a pentatonic scale, but with a muddy, blues third. There is a soloist, but this isn’t really call-and-response music. There is a trudging feel to this music. This song is in a slow three. There is a clear move to 2 (which implies V) just before the ending cadence on 1. There’s also a move to 4 at the outset. So we have a basic I-IV-I-V-I feel.

CD 3, Track 23 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: African-American Gospel Choir
Here we have a peppy rhythm offered by an organ, with the bass from the organ driving the rhythm at key points. Handclaps join in from the chorus about midway through. This song is in a major key, but the chords are varied with a II7 chord and some other minor chords supplementing the major key primary chords. These chords often move in rapid succession. The melody line is simple so the melody can be sung by many untrained voices together. The harmonic underpinnings are more complex and challenging than the melody line.

CD 3, Track 24 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Country Blues
This song gives us the familiar twelve-bar blues, with just a guitar and voice, the way the songs were originally sung. We get a melody phrase twice followed by a third phrase. There is also a point where a variation on the melody adds more lyrics.

CD 3, Track 25 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States/“Nuyorican” (New York City): Salsa
This music sounds Caribbean or South American. We have the recognizable rhythm of the downbeat on one and a pickup from off of two. There are lots of percussion instruments driving the pulse of the music. The bass anchors it. Complex arrangements of brass and woodwinds with prominent flute lines move around the melody. Harmony/chord progressions are adventurous, with the melody sometimes outside the chord. At the beginning, after brass sounding like a train whistle, there is an intro section that goes I to ii to iii then in to flat chords in a circle of fifths to get back to I. Another distinctive feature is the individual piano line in rhythm, arpeggiating the chord structures, as if staking out a middle ground between percussion and pitched instruments.

CD 3, Track 26 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Cajun Music
This music features pounding straight rhythms with a fiddle/violin and accordion. There are strong downbeats with eighths and sixteenths also pushing the pace. There is little syncopation in this music. A whiny, high-pitched vocalist sings the melody, which is then restated by the fiddle and accordion-type instrument. The chord structure is very simple, I to V to I. But there is something captivating about the pure emotion reflected in this music. And despite the accordion, this music does not sound solely European. Unlike the tango example from the previous post on South America and Mexico, there is something distinctively American about this music. This is probably due to the fiddle sound, and the Southern twang of the voice, with a hint of a French accent, but clearly not French.

CD 3, Track 27 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Plains Indian Dance Song
A drum beat drives the rhythm of this simple song, almost like a heartbeat with a quarter followed by eighth/three feel. The chant is very simple, in a major pentatonic scale. It starts up high and descends to a final resting place at 1. In fact, the initial note starts at an octave higher than the final cadence note. There are occasional lingerings at other scale levels, but the end of the vocal phrase always gravitates down to 1.

CD 3, Track 28 from World Music: A Global Journey
United States: Native American Flute
A beautiful flute sound plays a major key pentatonic mode in this piece. The sound is like a recorder, but does not sound quite as delicate. The line also seems to float down to a cadence at 1, similar to the previous selection, but with more excursions than the vocal music. In fact, the passage starts with an octave leap on the 5. And this excerpt ends on 5 (though it clearly is an excerpt).

Personal Compositional Note: I am not sure why, but I loved the thumping basic drive of the Cajun music and will look for way to bring it in to my own work. I’m clearly already influenced by blues and jazz that are native to my country. This Cajun music seems every bit as basic as the blues with the same soul/deep-level feelings. It couldn’t be much more different from the blues, which makes it even more fun that it is also part of my culture. I’m thinking there is a way to incorporate those characteristics into some music of mine in the future. The Native American flute sound would also make a nice melody line instrument. The use of the piano as a combination percussion and pitched rhythm instrument by having it arpeggiate a chord in rhythm, like the salsa music, is also an idea to bring in to other music contexts. Of course, I am already familiar with many of these styles of music, and know they are already part of my own musical vocabulary. But it was nice to arrive “home” again after these stops all over the planet and find some fresh musical angles.

This is the final post of this series within a series. The next post will be about Leonard Bernstein’s The Unanswered Question. I believe my thoughts on his ideas about music will be more insightful now that I have completed this musical journey, courtesy of Terry E. Miller and Andrew Shahriari.

Previous posts on this topic:

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin

Music, the Brain and Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain

Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr

Good Vibrations/The Physics of Music by Barry Parker

Measured Tones by Ian Johnston

Exploring Music by Charles Taylor

Music and Mathematics: From Pythagoras to Fractals, edited by John Fauvel, Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde by Joscelyn Godwin

The Study of Ethnomusicology by Bruno Nettl

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (12) “East Meets West” December 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “East Meets West”

Background on “East Meets West”: This was the ninth and final “Issa Music” piece of the first set, completed in late 1988. The title explains what I was trying to do here—to depict a contrast musically, a collision as “East Meets West.” “West” is first—a powerful brute force wall of sound starts it off. Exploding gongs, a big pipe organ, joined by a choir, arpeggiating strings and eventually synth brasses, state these block chords that form a simple melodic line, fanfares eventually sounding above. It sounds like triumph, like overpowering triumph and strength. This is followed by the “East” answer. It’s the same chord progression, even the same melodies, now stated over an unassuming rhythm, less assertive, more complex, more subtle. A strange trumpet line joins the second half of this section as if trying to fit into the “East” idea, but not totally comfortable. Section One is restated a second time, just to remind us of that brute power again. But we end with the “East” statement of the same harmonic idea, as if it will outlast the big power theme of “West.” But the exploding gong at the end asks us—will it?

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (11) “Voice in the Wilderness” November 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Voice in the Wilderness”

Background on “Voice in the Wilderness”: Here is the first of Set Two of the “Issa Music” pieces recorded, the tenth Issa piece over all. This piece was created with a similar concept to the very first piece, “Mystic Jam.” We have a motif strung out in improvisations over a simple tonal backdrop, in a Dorian mode (basically a minor key but with the major sixth and flat seventh of the scale). For this piece, I had a specific visual in mind inspiring me. “Voice in the Wilderness” concerns the Christian biblical reference to John the Baptist. “Wilderness” refers to an uncivilized area where few humans live. It is a place suited to singular meditation and contemplation. I had an image of hermit-like holy men sitting on top of high brown column-like fomations, raised up, overlooking an arid terrain, looking out from their lonely perches. They all have different flutes, and they play the piece’s motif back and forth to each other, as if exchanging their lone spiritual/mystical visions through the motifs. The piece migrates through various textures, some thin, then building to thickness. Different ideas come and go, but always moving back to that original motif. One of my favorite “Issa Music” moments comes between the third and fourth minutes. The background builds, with percussion, choir sounds, adding to thicken the sonic texture. Then, as if crying out for attention, a lone pure synth sound breaks over the top, as if it is the “Voice in the Wilderness,” begging for listeners to consider what it has to say. Originally I chose fourteen pieces for the “Issa Music” CD. This was not one of the original pieces. But whenever I thought of this music, I thought of that moment, that cry from the mystical/spiritual wilderness, and I knew this piece was the epitome of “Issa Music.” I had to include it, and make a painful choice to cut two others to make room. This piece captures that feeling of believing you have something meaningful to say, something that could be truly helpful to people, and you cry out for your words, your ideas, to be heard and considered. It operates at a gut level, with very simple musical ideas spun out to create the effect.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (10) “Eastern Boogie” October 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Eastern Boogie”

Background on “Eastern Boogie”: This piece, the fourth Issa piece created in Set One, took the “Issa Music” concept into a new direction. I felt I wasn’t getting enough “East” into my East-West fusion concept. So I went exotic modal, using a scale with some augmented seconds in it, and with the flat second of the scale, but keeping the major third. I came up with an exotic little ditty that seemed to work well. The bass line fit nicely under it, a bass line that allowed a lot of room for improvisation. The A section seemed to lead logically to the B section, which was derived as a sort of harmonic mirror image of the A section. The bass line for the section starts away from the tonality but slides back into it. The melodic part of the section seemed to grow right out of it. So I simply introduced the A and B sections, then improvised over the bass lines to those sections, running up and down and in an out of those modes. I used the technology to vary the timbres, instruments and textures of the backing tracks and leads. Now I had a pattern I could follow throughout the project—opening sections introducing a theme/mode/harmonic setup, followed by improvisation with exotic instrumental combinations utilized to develop the musical ideas.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (9) “Prism of the Soul” September 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Prism of the Soul”

Background on “Prism of the Soul”: This was the fifth of Set Three, 21st of the Issa pieces. Very much like “Pace by Pace,” I start with a short riff and with a melody that interplays with the riff, almost in an opposite contour, effectively creating a whole from two contrasting parts. For this piece, I delved more and more into set instrumental choirs and timbre changes, like moving from a brass choir into a shakuhashi solo over non-Western instrument sounds (accept for an acoustic string bass sound), then moving right out of that into a funky fusion beat laying the background for a synth-brass/flute solo. The idea here is a prism, shifting in the light, giving off different reflections, different visual results off the same object. The soul is a very complex concept and this piece is intended to capture that idea musically. Here we have different musical results stemming from the same musical idea. In my next Issa pieces, I will look for more opportunities to juxtapose completely different musical settings playing the same basic music, as I did with “Prism of the Soul.”

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (8) “Seventh Hell” August 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Seventh Hell”

Background on “Seventh Hell”: In the fifth Issa piece of Set Two, fourteenth overall, I made optimal use of the programming capabilities of the MIDI and Roland Mesa software to create a rollicking background for a wild theme in 7/8, and a B section in 3½/4. For the A section, I programmed a complex bass/TX module drum ostinato. Over it, I placed a deliberately disturbing, disjointed melody line. The B section is a twisted waltz, still with a seven feel, but in a more graspable 3½/4 than the 7/8. But the twisted waltz is not intended to instill peace and tranquility. It has a mocking quality, as if the devil is welcoming the listener to “Seventh Hell,” saying “Welcome to my world. What did you do or fail to do to deserve to be here?” The piece ends with the juxtaposition of the 7/8 and the 3½/4, climaxing with huge blows of disturbing cluster chords, pounding through rising lines that seem to rise up just to get sucked back into those big chords. That section took a long time to get just right. It may sound disjointed and unsettling, but it is my experience that disjointed and unsettling are harder to get just right than easy flowing fours and eights.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (7) “Darkness to Dawn” July 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Darkness to Dawn”

Background on “Darkness to Dawn”: This is the fourth piece of Set Two of the “Issa Music” pieces, the thirteenth piece overall. After the emotional peaks and valleys of “Voice in the Wilderness,” the cerebral complexity of “Chasing Shadows,” and the thundering funky quality of “Skeptic,” I set out to create something quieter, mellower, simpler, more contemplative. I set up a chord progression with some nice shifts and a simple, motivic, cell-like melody. The music moves through a minor key, migrating to major chords at cadence points (to capture the “Darkness to Dawn” feel). In the process of improvising over the various sections and changes of mood that wind out through the piece, I had my second “in the zone” experience. (See “River of Flow.”) Again, I felt like something else was involved with my playing—I barely recalled playing the passage and had to hear it back to become aware of what I had done. This is the D50 shakuhashi solo from 2:20 to 4: 05. I was very pleased with this piece, a simple piece with interesting chord changes and the characteristic changes in texture and timbre emblematic of “Issa Music.”

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (6) “Temptation” June 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Temptation”

Background on “Temptation”: This was the third piece from Set Three, nineteenth overall of the Issa pieces. When I thought about having these recordings converted from analog tape to digital, this is one of the pieces I thought about the most, that I really wanted to become acquainted with again. I used that strange mode/scale again, strange to Western ears, with a ♭2 and major third, among other little quirks (see “Eastern Boogie,” Set One #4). I slipped down to the vi chord for the B section, which allowed for some adventurous melodic invention and improvising, playing with blues scales and surprising common tones to bring a strange unity to this quirky piece. And “Temptation”—the exotic nature of the piece was intended to match musically the idea of “temptation.” My intention with this piece was to call up a wide concept of “temptation.” Sure, we think of temptations of pleasure; sex, overindulgence in food and drink, tempted to do wrong for riches. But for me, the idea goes even further. My biggest temptation is anger. I suspect many people get caught up in that same temptation—quick to anger, quick to fall into lashing out when a more patient behavior could bring a more successful outcome, and a more satisfying inner feeling. Add other temptations—self-pity, impatience, pride at the expense of love, even worry—this piece summons all of these temptations musically. Through the piece, I moved in and out of utterly electronic settings to settings with more conventional sounds. At times, the solos scream. But there are also sections like the flute solo, and the flute coupled with a low synth, weaving in a serpentine flow, as if calling forth that lust for pleasure. And there is the trumpet, blaring above the fray, as if too proud to blend. The string ensemble seems to scold the trumpet, and a synth solo laments the dilemmas temptation brings before we return to the main theme. Yes, this is one of my favorites of these pieces. When I find myself angered, or impatient, I summon this music into my head, and try to bring temptation under control.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.

Issa Music – Featured Selection: (5) “Pace by Pace” May 1, 2012

Posted by rwf1954 in fusion jazz, Issa, Issa Legend, jazz, Jesus in India, music, mystic jazz, new age jazz, Saint Issa legend.
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  • (Each month, I will feature a detailed description of one of the thirteen selections from my CD “Issa Music” with a link to the full piece. That link will remain up for one month. After that, the link at this post will be to a one minute clip. One minute clips of all the Issa Pieces are available at my website. Detailed notes on all the pieces are also available there. The full length pieces available with these blog posts are before mastering for CD release. The complete Issa Music CD is available for sale, along with downloads of individual mastered selections.)
  • (“Issa Music” is an East-meets-West mystic jazz CD released inspired by the “Legend of Issa.” Did Jesus journey to India and study Buddhism and Hinduism before his world-changing spiritual mission in Roman-occupied Judea? If so, are West and East spiritually connected in ways we have never imagined? “Issa Music” celebrates this idea with a blend of eastern and western modes and timbres.)

Play this month’s selection: “Pace by Pace”

Background on “Pace by Pace”: This final/seventh piece of Set Two, sixteenth overall, is a melody set over a simple riff basically in a Mixolydian mode, but with a shift to a ♭III chord within the riff, throwing in a variation to the Mixolydian feel. I also had a strategically placed pitch bend in the bass that gave “Pace by Pace” an exotic feel. I was thrilled with the way the flute melody floated nicely over the riff, counterpoint in an intriguing and satisfying way. It seemed fairly simple to wind out a B section from that A section to punctuate the riff and to offer some other options for improvisation. I was so happy with this piece that Carrie and I played it at our wedding as background music before the ceremony began. (I had produced specific music for the wedding ceremony itself.) I worked this through a variety of textures and timbres—with a riff like this, there were many possibilities from Yamaha TX exotic drum sounds to funky clavinet over a jazzy bass and driving drum track. Also, I have long sections of improvisation over a single tonality. I give credit to Greg Christiansen, a fellow musician/student at the University of Pacific (in the mid-70s) for our conversation about Miles Davis—“Bitches Brew” in particular. I said I wondered just how tough it is to improvise over a single tonality. Isn’t it harder to hit chord changes just right? No, he said. Improvising over one tonality is the hardest. Then it hit me—of course it is. The musician has to supply the creativity. There are no chords to act as a catalyst for the improvisations. Improvising over just one basic chord/tonality is challenging—keeping it fresh, moving in and out of that tonality in just the right way to keep it musically interesting, but not so wild that it sounds aimless and pointless. During those long stretches on one chord/mode/tonality, I thought of Greg’s point, and sought to create lines that stayed fresh and caught the mood of “Pace by Pace.” As I said earlier, I was happy with this result.

“Issa Music is Coming” blog post, September 21, 2011.

The story behind Issa Music.

Probable liner notes for the Issa Music CD.

Richard Warren Field music page.