Duke Department of Music to Release Exclusive Jazz Recordings

The Duke University Department of Music will release on Sept. 17 four new recordings, collaborations between members of a jazz trio and Duke composition doctoral students.

The collaboration is the first of its kind by bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King of The Bad Plus, an accomplished jazz trio. In the past 10 years, The Bad Plus has issued nine CDs and received acclaim from sources such as The New Yorker, Billboard and Rolling Stone magazine. 

The recordings are being released to coincide with upcoming concerts by The Bad Plus, presented by Duke Performances at Motorco Music Hall in Durham Sept. 21-22.

The recordings, available for streaming on the Duke Music Department website, music.duke.edu, will be online for a limited time. Listen here: http://music.duke.edu/news/2012/09/10/tbp-recordings.

The compositions by the Duke students are:

-- "What's Your Name and Number, Norma K.?" by Jamie Keesecker, deconstructs 1950s/60s jazz piano repertoire;

-- "Untitled" by Alex Kotch, a cinematic pop song;

-- "Floes" by Dan Ruccia, which combines unusual harmonies with 1970s jazz fusion; 

-- and "Thetastate" by Kenneth David Stewart, a mix of moody melodies with pre-recorded conversations about the creative process.

"It was an incredible learning experience locking musical horns with such a creative group of musicians, and I couldn't be more excited about the results," said composer and Duke composition doctoral student Dan Ruccia. 

Music composition professor John Supklo said that professional prospects for graduate composers have changed as opportunities to work for orchestra ensembles disappear.  

"The collaboration with the The Bad Plus not only produced excellent music, it was the best possible preparation for young composers working in a music world where stylistic categories are dissolving and 'serious' and 'popular' distinctions are becoming more and more irrelevant," Supco said.

The pieces grew out of The Bad Plus' year-long residency at Duke, which culminated in a recording session at Durham's Sound Pure Studios.

Another highlight of the musicians' residency was the world premiere of "On Sacred Ground: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring" in March 2011. The piece was commissioned, produced and developed by Duke Performances. They recently released a new album of original compositions "Made Possible" on E1 Music.

For more information on Duke Performances, visit dukeperformances.duke.edu.