Excerpt - Ruggiero's FRACTURED MAMBOS
Recommended volume for this sample: High!From - FRACTURED MAMBOS, Mark Recording CD MCD-1701
Philip Sinder, tuba
(Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication is not permitted.)
Instrumentation: Tuba, Electroacoustic
Duration: ca. 10:10 min.
Mambos - for Tuba and Electronic Recording (1990)
Early in 1989 Philip Sinder asked
me if I would be interested in writing a piece for tuba. I offered to write
Phil a composition for solo tuba and electronic tape that would have a strong
jazz flavor. Phil, who shares my interest in jazz, had been considering the
same combination of performing forces, tuba with electronic sounds, so it was
easy for us to agree on the broad outlines of the collaboration which has resulted
in my composition Fractured Mambos.
While writing for tuba, and while
preparing to write by listening to diverse recorded examples of tuba music,
I was impressed by the wide range of sounds, moods, and emotions that this beast
of an instrument is able to convey when being tamed by a performer as masterful
as Philip Sinder. The tuba, I found, can be clumsy, comical, playful, lyrical,
bold, dramatic . . . . It can be delicately expressive one second, and then
magnificently intimidating the next.
Instead of using real-time electronic
modification of tuba sounds, I decided to use a "classical" technique
in this work, combining taped synthesized and digitally sampled sounds with
the live unprocessed tuba performance. This approach was taken because, rather
than try to turn the tuba into some sort of electronic trumpet or MIDI wind
controller, I wanted the tuba to produce "natural" timbres and articulations.
It was my intention to create a work that would be relatively easy to perform
"on the road," with minimal hardware requirements and a simple setup.
Furthermore, I did not want my new composition to become outdated as soon as
the current generation of computer music hardware is replaced by the next wave
of music technology.
A concept of the timbres and textures
to be used in Fractured Mambos came to me soon after I decided to write
the piece. At first there were to be four main "sound groups": the
live acoustic tuba part, digitally sampled brass ensemble sounds, synthesized
and sampled percussion sounds, and synthesized tuba sounds. Later, a fifth sound
group was added: sampled muted trumpet sounds.
The textural and timbral models
for Fractured Mambos should be familiar to many listeners, they include
post-bop "big bands" (with their powerful trumpet and trombone sections)
and, especially, Latin/jazz salsa groups (which typically combine "horns"
with dynamic rhythm sections).
Eclectic in style, Fractured
Mambos clearly shows the influence on my work of such leading twentieth-century
American musicians as Thelonious Monk, Gil Evans, and Miles Davis. Echoes (that
sometimes are twisted and distorted, but which never are intentionally mocking)
of the music of such Latin-jazz artists as Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri are
pervasive in Fractured Mambos. What may be the main structural premise
of Fractured Mambos, the transformation, reinterpretation, and disintegration
of somewhat simple and familiar musical materials through juxtaposition, interruption,
and interpolation, comes in no small part from that ancient and esteemed master,