(Cross-posted from the Xtra Styles Pak 5 contest) https://soundcloud.com/user-423212678/labor-day-old-friends-passed
Style: CRONGA+.STY (Crooner Jazz Conga MultiStyle), Category: Jazz
768:Bass, Acoustic, Jazz Sw 110
1791:Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm DixielandMedium Sw 110
938:Guitar, Acoustic, Rhythm JazzFreddie Sw 110
2593:Horn Section, Background CroonerBigBand9-Part Sw 110
RealDrums: JazzOlder-4-Brushes [Multi]
This track, IMHO, showcases the often-startling beautiful arrangements that BiaB can produce--seemingly out of the ether--with what are fairly rudimentary inputs.
Interestingly enough, it's basically just a series of ascending then descending major and minor thirds (and a couple of fourths thrown in) with a high-E note pedaled throughout.
I originally came up with the underlying melody while messing around aimlessly on my battered nylon string guitar, and was enamored by the voicings that resulted from the juxtaposition of some simple thirds and fourths over that same E note.
Back in 2010 or so, I had transcribed the tablature into Guitar Pro 6, rendered it into MIDI, and then imported it into BiaB using an old school MIDI style in order to make backing tracks that I utilized to give a few guitar lessons. .
After acquiring the Xtra Styles PAK 5, on a lark, I re-imported that nearly forgotten sequence, (originally written in 3/4!), into BiaB, and loaded the CRONGA+.STY style, and the result just blew me away. It was nothing like what I heard when playing the pre-packaged BiaB style demo (which is excellent in its own right). But this YEARNED.
For me, this track stirs up that ephemeral and virtually indescribable feeling of 4 pm at a Labor Day BBQ. You've had a number of stiff drinks already--too many, probably. In a couple of hours that feeling will likely be replaced by nausea and various flavors of regret. But for now, you're in that sweet spot. Your old friend Kevin managed to make it because he was visiting his folks, and, to your delight, managed to carve out some time for you.
The summer is on its way out. You've managed to scrape together enough PTO to have a lovely getaway with the wife for a great holiday at the beach, and you have no objective reason to complain. But your vacation is now in the past, and you are hounded by the feeling that you should have accomplished more, LIVED more, over the past year(s).
You both have kids, and they've finally retired to the den to play video games. You stand together, pushing around the grill slabs of meat (that you probably spent too much on). The beers are disappearing in quick succession, and the wife (perhaps your second or third) is giving you looks, but this moment is yours.
Together, you talk of dreams and sweethearts past. About Larry, who went on to found some start-up, and now has a home in the city and another in the Hamptons. The girl you had a crush on in high school who married Jeff, and recently died way too young of cancer, leaving behind a grief-stricken husband and three kids.
This is John Updike's Labor Day--where you realize you will not conquer the world in this lifetime, but, if you try hard enough, you will be the father and husband who is truly mourned when you pass.
Additionally, from a musical perspective, this speaks to me of a time, one in which I had yet to be born, where with a few twists of the dial, you could be serenaded by the sweet tones of a band with a full horn section, each musician contributing 100 percent of their joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams. Where has this all gone? What has replaced it?
Finally, I should note that I did think of expanding this into a song--with lyrics, vocals, and everything--but ultimately felt that the "conversation" the instruments themselves were having was too…"pure," (for lack of a better term). The trumpets, trombones, saxophones--each one reaches for, caresses, and propels the call-and-response of the ascending then descending voicings with its own unique attack and personality.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this, and thank you all for the inspiration you have brought me over the years!