I recently completed "There's a New Dog in Town." It's the third of a four-movement suite for jazz ensemble that is in progress.
This suite is inspired by important places and events in the history of Blair County, PA, which is about an hour from where I live.
Movement I: The Old Chief's Lookout
Inspired by Chimney Rocks, a site upon a bluff which overlooks the Logan Valley to the front range of the Allegheny mountains. I read that the Susquehannock Indians lived on this land a few hundred years ago, and that they would sit upon Chimney Rocks to keep an eye on activity among their settlement.
Movement II: The Water Road
Inspired by life on the Main Line Canal, which was the fastest travel route from Philly westward to Harrisburg, and onto Hollidaysburg/Duncansville. I composed it to sound like an old-timey work song.
Movement III: There's a New Dog in Town
In the mid-1800s the steam-powered locomotive came on the scene, eliminating the need for canal boats practically overnight. I imagined a big, brawny, shiny locomotive looking down at a little ol' canal boat, and telling it like it is.
Which brings me to the score and the recording. Here's my local big band, Zeropoint, sight-reading this chart at our monthly gig. I'd say the band did a really good job!
One little note
To help me compose the melody, I improvised a lyric from the steam engine's perspective (described above). This actually helped me come up with the phrasing and melodic lines. And it resulted in melody that I wouldn't have come up with on saxophone or piano. You can see this in the leadsheet linked above.
One more note
The mysterioso part in the middle is the canal boat haunting the steam engine in a bad dream. It uses the theme from the canal boat movement (II). Perhaps I'll get around to posting that one, too.
Questions, comments? Drop me a line.