Velvet Blue

Brass Quintet and Organ

In an email to Rodney Holmes, the commissioner of Velvet Blue, the composer noted:

“Okay – so the piece…essentially, it is a blues lick – in keeping with a Fleetwood Mac/Pink Floyd/Clapton etc. idea – but a bit more edgy. Didn’t want the keyboard to be any more of a soloist than anyone else in the ensemble, although inevitably they get some of the more tricky lines! But then whilst I was conceiving this piece I figured,’ no, this is an unusual line up – it needs a cadenza!’ Hence the opening passages.”

As it winds in to the q=52 section, the plunger/flutter effects in the brass almost imitate a ride cymbal – giving it a little pace, rather than anything specific in terms of effects. That kind of slow blues tends to be really dirty – which is exactly the way the work should be performed!”
Velvet Blue was commissioned by Rodney Holmes for Chicago’s Gargoyle Brass Quintet to be performed with Hammond Organ. Throughout the commissioning and recording process it became apparent that it would work equally well with pipe organ, and an ad lib drum set could be added in performance.