Inspired by an early summer afternoon spent playing with his young daughter, Munson has composed a tasty jazz waltz for 4-mallet vibraphone solo. Written at a medium-advanced level, the cool jazz harmonies create an ethereal mood thatâ€™s surprisingly but effectively complemented by playful rhythmic moments.
Bella comes as a professionally bound folio.
Take a nice 32-bar cool-jazz-style head, support it with some tasteful block chords and a few passing lines, add a little variation and an improvised notated chorus, and in essence you have â€śBellaâ€ť by Chris Munson. The tune will sound familiar, but one of those â€ścanâ€™t quite put your finger on itâ€ť types of familiar. The sweet and cheerful nature of it is, accord- ing to the composer, reflective of â€śplaying with my young daughter outside on an early summer afternoon.â€ť
Everything in this solo, with the ex- ception of pedaling, is notated. Though portions are intended to sound improvised, there are no chord changes or open solo sections. The melody has a childlike simplicity, but the supporting chordal activity and some of the four-mallet voicings are challenging and require intermediate to advanced technique. The feel is essentially a jazz waltz, and the piece is set in C major, but includes a predictable amount of chromatic decoration given the jazz influence.
Skilled jazz vibists will likely find â€śBellaâ€ť to be a well-conceived realiza- tion of a jazz tune, but may prefer a little more flexibility and some chord notation. For those without a strong jazz back- ground, the more traditional notation of this piece is an excellent introduction to the genre, could serve as a nice study piece, and certainly is a quality under- graduate recital selection.
Vol. 52, No. 2. March 2014
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