"Equally fluent on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Groder is a venerated composer, trumpeter, and ensemble leader that has been cited as one of the most original jazz voices of his generation." —All That Jazz
ALMOST YOU (2008) What is it about warm summer rains that has us remembering people we shouldn’t be thinking about? The gray drizzles into puddles everywhere while soft distant thunder claims another ballad BARNSTABLE LIGHT (1999) Watching summertime storm clouds gather above the Cape Cod Sound, I wrote this melody while standing on Sandy Neck beach. The diffused sunlight cutting across the sky is reflected in the composition’s shifting major-minor structure.
ANCESTRAL TONGUES (2002 version) Originally appearing as the opening cut on my first album of the same name, it now has been updated (harmonic structures), edited (sparser melodic line) and expanded to include the bass introduction as part of the soloing material. BETWIXT (2003) A focus of constant shifting of lengths and range of phrases. Perplexingly sounding longer than it actually is.
COALESCENCE (2003 version) co-written with Joanne Brackeen It’s all about the bounce, playing off a rhythmic phrase that emphasizes the upbeat, while all the time keeping the melodic theme popping. Gradually the line is stretched out vertically and horizontally creating tension and contrast. CODE NOIR (2009) Strong characters holding within their strained emotions intersect and share the loneliness. The dialogue exchanged is to be remembered and memorized in black & white.
CUTANEOUS CHAOS (2002) Any medical therapy that incorporates having tar spread over major portions of your body is going to alter your mental state and any musical ideas surfacing at the time. The theme is first introduced in standard four measure phrases and then in five measure lengths. DEEPENING APPEARENCES (1997) Scratch the surface of any personality and you’ll find layers of quirk that may contradict. Conflicting time signatures that drop in and out are here further enhanced by double-time. Alternating material surprises to solo over.
DISCERNING OMENS (1999) Are we looking for omens of good luck in the upward arcs of our lives? With a modern mind we pragmatically discern the true or possible from the fantastical and false. Or so we believe. Interlocking three progressive harmonic progressions provide a mysterious mood leading into a repetitive contrasting theme that opens over a spirited driving underbelly. DISCONCERTION (2003) co-written with Joanne Brackeen Pulsating in a forward motion that provides very little spacial sense or rest. Mindful of a brain that has wired itself in circular patterns with no escapes/resolutions of a thought, this piece reminds me why I had to cut back my excessive coffee consumption.
DIVERGING ORBITS (2001) Melodic and rhythmic downward spinning arcs suddenly alter themselves and take a radical path to resolution. Working through a condensed secondary harmonic progression and cadence that condenses two times, then four times itself. All twenty-six asymetrical measures zip zoom the soloing form. DOROTHEA (2006 version) The first composition I ever attempted is here redeveloped into an odd meter of five which displaces the melody ever so slightly around and across it’s natural boundaries. Here an ethereal vision of an exceptional and refined woman.
DREAMSCAPE (2001) The nocturnal theater that plays throughout our nights, bends the implausible beyond the margins. There are the twists and turns of motifs from duple into triple. ELLIPSIS (2003) Omissions of pivotal notes from a melodic line can declarify a musical thought. There are several possibilities offered, but only a few that develop the links that separate the individual threads.
HENGE (2005) The singular weight of an iconic structure rendered in stone. Massively simple, but secretly ritualistic, a monolith speaks through it’s own foreboding presence. Extended time provides more questions than answers. HUBBUB (1997) Everyone stabs, pinches and pulls the blues. A little, a lot, makes no difference, the form can take it all. My own casserole de blues extends over an untraditional set of changes, for some escalating tensions and resolutions.
INCANTATIONS (2003) The whispers and murmurings that create repetitive cycles against one another. They spin and splinter at different speeds, while all the time propelling forward. INVOLUTION (2003) co-written with Joanne Brackeen Inner mechanisms that fold in upon itself like the harmonic structures that subtly change against the groove centered theme. Curving whorls that closely wound the overall design.
IOTA (2002) A tittle. A dot. A quantity that can overshadow it’s own size through it’s implications. Suddenly the meaning matters more than magnitude. JINGO (2004) An anticipating rhythmic groove within the melody itself, that carves out the jingles, jangles and rattles of a dancing figure. It struts, pops and bops.
JUST ONCE (2004) Diminutive motifs strung together in one long continuous spiral. A rare occurrence of small numerous notes give harmonious meaning and grace, together. LEE’S LABEL (2005 version) Leon kept the deepest meanings and lessons of life simple, yet was a very complicated soul himself. Here, a leaner melodic line with the additional juxtapositions of 5 over 4, not found in the ’93 version. Hopefully, greater depth, as I have slowly learned more orchestration technique and about the man himself, my father.
LITTLE INNOCENCE (2009) A state of quiet freedom with small motions that stretch across and dissipate across simple backgrounds. LONE CONSONANCE (1998) A sound subordinated to another sound. A love seemingly subordinated to another, finds itself alone. Inner questions in ballad form.
MULTIPLE LATTITUDES (2010)What seems to be obvious to our present sensibilities are often more fanciful then factual. Beliefs, superstitions and religious dogmas can all be bundled up around ill- fitting principles until someone moves the boundaries of perceptions in question. One melodic linear plane gradually expands to multi- dimensional harmonic structures. The flat becomes round and the grid becomes curved. NAGUAL FORMS (2006) Olmec Empire shamen priests partaking in ritualistic ceremonies involving hallucinogenics to assume animal forms. The “other side” may hold the answers to an understanding of this plane of existence. Several modes with altered chordal tones are employed to color the vivid dream and journey landscapes.
NAKED I (2007) Total self awareness . The acute examination always seems less to the inner eye. Stretched chordal personalities combine with an alternating double-time framework before restating the theme in a new meter, all present a restless musical mirror essay. NIMBUS (2006) A radiant waltz that hides rain and snow in three sections and motifs. Atmospheric clouds that ascend and descend.
OBVOLUTION (2003) One half exterior and the other, interior. Both are wrapped and folded up together to present musical contrasts. OCULUS (2004) A strong inner eye is required to express oneself through your own body. A dancer’s total control of torso, limbs and gestures can richly display this individual vision. Slowly whirling dresses the dark harmonic sequences.
OUT AND ABOUT (2004 version) Yet another revision of an earlier exploration from “Perihelion”. Movin’ that drive around in five, the displacement that swings. Always meant to be about the drummer, the composition really opens up for that now. OPEN HAND (2011) The peaceable upright position of the welcoming hand. Simple and straightforward, it signifies a natural and serene calm to those who gaze upon it. Yet such sacred undertones do in fact also exclaim the implicit unordered chaos below.
NONE TOO SOON (2009) Reaching a conclusion through winding ways. Seemingly on their own from no help or direction from us, a diversionary path becomes the sole purpose itself. Restful peace in finding a strong settled determination. PARALLAX (2002) Full and harmonically rich chords fill and sustain each measure of this inflective mood study. Changes in position will change the view. The subtle shifts change the aural experience.
PECADILLO (1998 version) Tapping into the inner Latin groove we all have hidden under the surface. The written out bass line sets up a propelling syncopation immediately. PORTRAIT L (2006) The longer it spins, the deeper and faster it revolves around itself. There’s a lot here living together in one compact portraiture package.
QUICK SILVER (2010) Slivery and beholden to no stable shape or form, Mercury’s metallic element moves over surfaces in it’s own uncontrollable Alchemical design RATIOS RENEWED (2008) A form condensed. Bits and pieces were extracted from the original version, “Ratios Within” (1993), but here are mutated, thank you, into a fresher form.
ROSEMARY’S SMILE (2007) Rare indeed to find someone you can trust every life detail with. Countless laughs shared and enjoyed together. Rarer still if she’s your confidant, conscience and sister. SPOKEN THOUGHTS (1994) The ballad of open mind, open mouth. Once you go there, you have to explain all, walking through every justifications. Here small melodic movements link small motifs.
SEMAPHORE (2011) Reviewing a childhood Boy Scout Handbook of the artful movements of encoded signaling. Pairs of information transporting through the visual plane by flags, paddles or hands. Non-electronic days. STATE OF DILEMMA (2008) Passing tones move through and around the opening melody and counter bass line, even to push the secondary theme across shifting and pulsing time signatures. There seemingly is no rest.
TEXTURA (2003) co-written with Joanne Brackeen A geometry of woven aural strands with all the variables of multiple color, thickness and thread counts. Aural textures for a tactile world. TJURUNGA (2000) Sparse as the scorching Australian indigenous wilderness. There are sacred and treasured stones and wooden objects used with ground paintings, ceremonial rites including ancient chants and legends. All secret and personal to the Arrente totemic clans.
TONUS (2002) Ancient horns calling out their intervallic wails and blasts. You may believe to hear them, making it no difference to how long ago. Music is timeless. SURFACE TENSION (2006) One of those melodies that just spills out of the horn. Over the course of a few days it takes new shapes and dimensions. Each new shape seems to be a ripple across it’s excitable skin.
UR (2008) An ancient Sumerian city-state that helped invent civilization through astronomy, mathematics, wheeled transport, commercial enterprises, large scale brick buildings and writing. But as all great civilizations, they eventually fall. The loss of empire, famine and occupation forces individuals to flee and seek fortune elsewhere. One who did, was Abram, who later changed his name to Abraham and according to legend became the ancestor of the Israelites.  
"My music, created with a commitment to forging a strong individual voice expressed in
a myriad range of styles and compositional textures, continues to develop the underlying
principles of form, harmonic structures and creativity from my mentors Dennis Sandole and JoAnne Brackeen.
I'm eternally grateful for all they shared and inspired".
Tom Lawton, piano. All compositions © 2013 Brian Groder/Glyphs Music, BMI